GAAMAC’s Africa Working Group helps disseminate UNESCO and UN guide on genocide education

18 July 2023
Surveys conducted by UNESCO in different African countries have shown that teachers recognize the importance of genocide education. However, they feel they lack the training to include it in their curricula and fear the adverse effects of touching upon this sensitive topic during their lessons.

The new UNESCO and UN guide, “Teaching to Prevent Atrocity Crimes: a guide for Teachers in Africa”, seeks to address their concerns and meet their specific needs with practical advice on relevant pedagogical approaches tailored to existing curricula frameworks in the region.

Co-published with the United Nations Department of Global Communications and developed in partnership with the UNESCO International Institute on Capacity-Building in Africa, this publication aligns with the global priority of the United Nations and UNESCO to promote peace and sustainability in Africa. The African community of GAAMAC will now support its regional dissemination.

“Experience from the field of Holocaust education has shown that education about atrocity crimes can sensitize learners to contemporary forms of discrimination,” explains Karel Fracapane, UNESCO Program Specialist in the Education Sector. “It can also help to augment understanding of the processes that can lead societies to commit massive human rights violations and raise awareness for warning signs. Developing a guide for African teachers also allows us to address regional specificities, such as the legacy of colonialism.”

Genocide education: long-standing commitment

The importance of educating about the history of genocide and atrocity crimes to raise awareness has been acknowledged repeatedly by various United Nations bodies, for example, through UN resolution 60/7 (2005) on “Holocaust Remembrance”; UNESCO GC resolution 34C/61 (2007) on “Holocaust Remembrance”; UNSC resolution 2150 (2015) on “Recommitment to fight against genocide”; UNHRC Resolution (A/HRC/28/L.25) on “The prevention of genocide” (2015).

The new publication builds on UNESCO’s 2017 policy guide on “Education about the Holocaust and preventing genocide”. It is also informed by consultations with relevant United Nations divisions and regional and international experts.

More about the cooperation between UNESCO and GAAMAC

UNESCO has been an informal ally of GAAMAC since 2021, cooperating in particular on the topic of hate speech and atrocity crime and genocide education.

The same year, UNESCO started to involve GAAMAC’s Africa Working Group (AWG) in the development of the new teaching resource. Liberata Mulamula, Felistas Mushi, Wale Adeboye, Alphonse Van, Bakari Diaby and Justice Jamila Mohammed provided comments and feedback to refine the recommendations and teaching practices outlined in the teachers’ guide.

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