KATHMANDU, Jan 28: With the support from the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST), the United Nations Nepal together with the Embassy of Germany, the Embassy of Israel and the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal, organized a month-long educational outreach program about the Holocaust at 15 public and 10 private schools of the three districts in the Kathmandu Valley.
During the school outreach program, students were briefed on the horrors that can emerge from discrimination and intolerance and were urged to stand against injustice and “never again” repeat the acts of genocide anywhere in the world. Various orientation sessions about the Holocaust were conducted among the students of higher secondary level as a part of their Social Studies curriculum benefiting around 500 students, according to a joint press statement issued by United Nations in Nepal, Embassy of Germany in Nepal and Embassy of Israel in Nepal.
UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal, Valerie Julliand, said remembrance and education about the Holocaust were at the center of the school outreach program resonating with the global theme this year. “Understanding our history connects us to the essential human values of truth, respect, justice and compassion. As these values are still being threatened from all sides, we must reaffirm them more strongly than ever and stand every day and everywhere against anti-semitism, bigotry and hatred of all kinds,” she said.
This year marks both the 75th anniversary of the ending of the Second World War and the establishment of the United Nations. Acknowledging 2020 as a milestone year, the theme for Holocaust Remembrance Day is “75 years after Auschwitz - Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice".
Chargé d'affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal, Bashkim BITUCI, said the purpose of this international day of remembrance is not only to pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, but also to encourage us to learn from it so that such horror will never happen again. “It's more important than ever at a time when we are witnessing a worrying revival of anti-semitism, with social networks as its main vector, where anonymity and lack of control encourage all forms of hate speech and Holocaust denial,” he said.
In order to amplify the awareness about the Holocaust, the UN and the three diplomatic missions mobilized 35 youth volunteers pursuing their bachelor's and master's degrees to facilitate the school outreach program. "One of the darkest realities in the history of mankind is the Holocaust. Since the theme this year is Holocaust education, together, we must educate our future generation and continue our fight against anti-semitism, discrimination and intolerance, said Israeli Ambassador to Nepal, Benny Omer.
The month-long observation concluded with a memorial ceremony hosted by the German Ambassador Roland Schafer on Monday evening. While thanking the UN Volunteers for their work at the Nepali schools, Ambassador Schafer said all democratic governments currently face the challenge to find the right balance between banning hateful content and preserving the freedom of speech. “Anywhere, and in Nepal, governments are well advised to listen very carefully. Listen to the young people who need to be protected from discrimination and at the same time need to express their opinion freely,” he said.