Genocide Conference in South Africa Tackles Questions of Education
He urged all nations suffering from the memory of genocide to take their own initiatives to include genocide studies in their curricula.
WASHINGTON DC - Chhang Youk, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia, is in Cape Town, South Africa, for a UN-sponsored forum on the teaching of genocide in schools. He urged all nations suffering from the memory of genocide to take their own initiatives to include genocide studies in their curricula.
“We ought to remember that we have to begin doing these things ourselves,” Chhang Youk told VOA Khmer from Cape Town. “No one can do it better, or understand the issue better than us.”
The Unesco-sponsored forum, “Why Teach About Genocide - the Example of the Holocaust,” is meant to further discussions on how to design educational programs that teach about genocide and atrocities. Cambodia is a leading country in the research of genocide and has recently begun distributing teaching materials on the subject.
The UN in 1948 passed a convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide crimes, but it was not until 2007 that it passed a resolution on Holocaust denial and put an emphasis on education for genocide prevention.
Chhang Youk said countries must determine for themselves the best way to educate on genocide. “If we wait for the UN to act, all people will be ignorant of genocide, and this is a root cause for genocide to happen again and again,” he said. “It took the UN 59 years to realize that education is a way to stop genocide.”