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Plaid Cymru MEP congratulates ‘Welsh Memorial in Flanders’ campaign

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Peace Institute needed to prevent future conflict

In the centenary of the start of World War One, Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has congratulated the ‘Welsh memorial in Flanders’ campaign in raising awareness of the tens of thousands of Welsh soldiers who were killed in action in Flanders and commemorating their sacrifice.

A memorial to Welsh soldiers killed in Flanders will be unveiled in August this year, and Jill Evans has been invited to attend.

During the conflict the Welsh lost more men per capita than any other nation. Whereas Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and recently Scotland have in Flanders large monuments to honour the fallen of those countries, there is nothing to commemorate soldiers from Wales, who include the poet Hedd Wyn.

Jill Evans MEP said that events surrounding the centenary of the start of World War One should be about the commemoration of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, and not a celebration of war.

Jill Evans is working closely with the Flemish Peace Institute to establish a similar Institute in Wales. It could carry out research and advise government on preventing violence and promoting tolerance and peaceful co-operation between countries and communities. Wales is also one of the few European countries without a Peace Institute.

Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans said:

“I would like to congratulate the memorial’s organizing committee for all the hard work that they have done, raising funds for this much awaited memorial.

“Tens of thousands of Welsh soldiers were killed in the fields of Flanders, in World War One and it is important for the families and communities affected, and for Wales as a nation, that a memorial exists to remember their sacrifices and young lives lost.

“As we reach the centenary of the start of World War One, it is important that we commemorate those that went to war, but that we do not celebrate militarism and imperialism.

“We remember the ordinary people who were fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, particularly those who never returned.

“We must also learn from those terrible events so that they are not repeated.

“Wales should have its own Peace Institute to help avoid future conflict, and promote peaceful international co-operation between countries and communities.”

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