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Objavljeno: 25. Apr 2017. 15:04:12

A survivor of the Srebrenica genocide received an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Bedfordshire for his outstanding commitment to Human Rights today (Monday 24 April).

Nedžad Avdić was just 17 years old when was taken captive by the Bosnian Serb forces and forced to face a firing squad. One of just a handful of men to survive the mass executions, Nedžad has devoted his life to speaking out on the need to tackle hatred and bring communities together to prevent similar atrocities from happening in the future.

Nedžad said on his conferment: “I am honoured and immensely grateful to the University of Bedfordshire, because I feel that this is not just an award that has been given to me; this is an award for all those who fight for justice in a dignified way.

“It is easy to lose hope, but this Doctorate gives me back that hope and a new strength to keep going forward. I know that I must never stop telling the world that hatred cannot bring anything good.”

Nedžad and his family had to flee their home after it was attacked and undertook a journey to a designated ‘safe area’ of Srebrenica.

However, when the town was captured by the Bosnian Serb army, he fled again, with his father and uncle.

He was captured, and told to line up with hundreds of other men who were being systematically executed. Nedžad was shot in the arm and the stomach, but miraculously he managed to survive and escape to safety with the help of another man. His father and uncles were murdered in the genocide.

Today Nedžad is back living in Srebrenica with his wife and three daughters.

Nedzad and his family

8,372 men and boys were massacred on 11 July 1995 by the Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica. The mass execution was greatest atrocity on European soil since the Second World War and has been ruled by the International Court of Justice as constituting genocide.

Bill Rammell Vice Chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire said: “It is our honour to confer this Honorary Doctor of Philosophy on Nedžad for his outstanding contribution to human rights. It is also a privilege that Nedžad will be delivering a lecture today during his visit to the University.

“Nedžad is an inspiration to us all. In spite of all he’s been through Nedžad continues to reject hatred and campaigns tirelessly so that others will never have to suffer as he has.”

The University recognised Nedžad’s commitment to human right following a visit by staff and students to Srebrenica organised by the UK charity Remembering Srebrenica.

Here they found out first-hand about the genocide and met with Nedžad and other survivors of the genocide.

Remembering Srebrenica’ Chairman, Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, said: “Nedžad’s dedication to sharing his story with young people is incredible and, although hearing such personal accounts of tragedy is moving and difficult, we have seen the impact it has on them.

“By teaching about the consequences of hatred through such first-hand testimony, we can inspire young people to take personal actions that help to build stronger, more cohesive communities and ensure Srebrenica is never forgotten.”

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