Sturgeon joins other party leaders to back education on genocide

By agency reporter
October 28, 2016

The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon yesterday (27 October 2016) gave her backing to Remembering Srebrenica’s Scottish education pack along with the leaders of four other parties.

The First Minister, who in August visited Srebrenica, the scene of the worst atrocity on European soil since World War Two, was joined by Ruth Davidson, leader of the Scottish Conservatives and a director of the Scottish board of the charity Remembering Srebrenica, Kezia Dugdale Leader of Scottish Labour, Willie Rennie Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats and Patrick Harvie, Co-Convener of the Scottish Green Party.

The education pack, tailored by the Scottish Government to the requirements of the Curriculum for Excellence, is a resource designed to promote lessons to be learned from the genocide. These will ensure that students understand the importance of building stronger communities and cherishing differences rather than divisions that can lead to hatred and conflict.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “It was an immense privilege to visit Bosnia and Herzegovina in the summer, and meet with survivors and the bereaved of the 1995 genocide at Srebrenica. I learned first-hand how they have fought to preserve the memory of their loved ones. Their stories are not easy to hear, but they must be heard.

“Here in Scotland, we are determined that our young people learn to shape their future through awareness of the lessons from the past – including from events such as the Srebrenica genocide. This education pack is a vital tool in helping our children and young people to understand and learn from the genocide at Srebrenica.

“By learning and reflecting on the horrors of the genocide, we all play an important part in creating a better future and a more tolerant society.”

Ruth Davidson MSP added: “It’s heartening to see the strong cross-party consensus that exists on this issue and I’m proud of my association with Remembering Srebrenica. All of us should learn this chapter in history which, for many years, was Europe’s “forgotten” genocide.

“That’s why this education pack is so important – Srebrenica cannot slip from our collective consciousness and we must never forget the 8,000 men and boys murdered so callously just two decades ago.

Kezia Dugdale MSP joined the other leaders in emphasising her support: "Srebrenica is one of the worst atrocities in European history and it is vital that our young people in our schools to know about it. For many people my age it was our first conscious experience of seeing images of genocide on our television screens and those images live with us forever. As Scotland strives to become a more tolerant nation it is important to remember the horrors that can emerge when we stop seeing each other as friends, family and neighbours."

Willie Rennie MSP was also clear on the importance of this resource, saying: “With right wing sentiment increasing across Europe, it’s more important than ever to raise awareness of the potential for ethnic tensions to escalate into violence. When 8,000 people can be murdered on European soil only twenty years ago, it is essential that we teach the generations that follow us about the corrosive effect of discrimination and prejudice and how easily it can spiral. These lessons will ensure Scottish schoolchildren are educated on the terrible events that took place at Srebrenica and give them the tools to critically challenge prejudice and racial hatred."

Patrick Harvie MSP, Co-convener of the Scottish Greens, explained why he was backing the education pack: “The word ‘genocide’ often conjures up images of the Second World War, but it’s important we raise awareness of what happened so recently, just 21 years ago, in Srebrenica. Our young people especially need the chance to understand how prejudice and hatred can lead to unthinkable acts, and how mutual respect is vital if we are to achieve peace.”

Over 30,000 children have already learnt lessons from Srebrenica across the UK thanks to the free resources provided by Remembering Srebrenica. The charity is determined to reach even more pupils right across Scotland with such high level political support and nearly 50 Community Champions having been out to Bosnia-Herzegovina on the ‘Lessons from Srebrenica’ programme.

The Scottish board of Remembering Srebrenica is chaired by the Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland.

*The education packs can be downloaded here

*Remembering Srebrenica http://www.srebrenica.org.uk/

[Ekk/4]

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