Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

27 January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. Every year on this day Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place. The NEU's joint-general secretaries have prepared a statement for this year’s HMD and shared links to teaching and learning resources. These are set out in the drop-down section below. 

  • Holocaust Memorial Day Statement & Resources

    27 January marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp. Every year on this day Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place.

    In the words of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust: “Holocaust Memorial Day is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur.”

    In remembering the six million Jewish people murdered during the Nazi Holocaust between 1941-1945, we also stand in solidarity with survivors, their descendants, and all those whose lives were changed beyond recognition.

    The Holocaust warns us of where discrimination, hatred and the seeds of division can
    lead and so, on this day, the NEU reaffirms its longstanding commitment to tackling the racism, prejudices and injustices that blight our society.

    This commitment must be a continued and shared process, so this year’s HMD theme, “Be the Light in the Darkness”, rightly calls every one of us to action to consider the different kinds of “darkness” in the world and to explore ways of “being the light”, for example through solidarity, acts of resistance and by illuminating mistruths.

    As part of this process, we encourage members to utilise resources that the National Education Union (NEU) has created to support lessons around the Holocaust, racism, and civil and human rights. Links to these resources are set out below, alongside links to other teaching and learning resources recommended by the NEU’s Equalities, Social Justice, and International (ESJI) department.

    In solidarity and remembrance,

    Mary Bousted & Kevin Courtney

    Resources:

    1. Holocaust Memorial Day Trust | Resources
      HMDT Resources support teachers and learners to find out more about the Holocaust and genocide and plan HMD activities through exploring the life stories of survivors and those who were murdered, schools materials, activity ideas, films, images and more 
    2. Mosaic – victims of Nazi persecution
      A comprehensive set of teaching resources on the Holocaust and Nazi persecution, produced by the NEU and Holocaust Educational Trust.
    3. Our Histories – Teaching Pack for KS1 and KS2
      A teaching pack created by the NEU recognising diverse cultural events in January and February 2021 including Holocaust Memorial Day, Black History Month around the world, Chinese New year and LGBT+ History Month.
    4. TUC – Talking About Antisemitism
      A TUC guide for union reps to discussing and tackling antisemitism in the workplace.

Title for drop-down box: Holocaust Memorial Day Statement & Resources

Steve Sinnott award
Steve Sinnott International Solidarity Award

Districts and branches are invited to submit nominations for the Steve Sinnott International Solidarity Award which gives recognition to members who have made exemplary contributions to their school or branch or districts’ work on international solidarity.

Take action by writing to your local MP on the Rohingya refugee crisis

In July the NEU hosted a webinar on the humanitarian crisis facing Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. 

To support the Rohingya, NEU members were instructed to lobby their MPs and to advocate locally by all of the experts on the webinar. This included Hazel Danson (NEU National Treasurer), Sirazul Islam (Youth Advocate, British Rohingya Community), Yasmin Qureshi MP (Shadow Minister, Department for International Development) and Bill Van Esveld (Associate Director, Human Rights Watch). 

Take action by using the sample email below to write to your local MP on the educational crisis facing Rohingya children and the humanitarian crisis that is severely hitting the wider community. 

You can find your local MP and their contact details on the Parliament website. 

  • Email your MP - sample email

    Dear XXXXX

    I write to you as a teacher/parent/governor/concerned member of the public from your constituency about the Rohingya refugee crisis and children’s denial of education.

    Like me, you will no doubt remember that in August 2017, 740,000 ethnic Rohingya were forced to flee Myanmar and enter Bangladesh as they fled rape, massacres and ethnic cleansing. This followed decades of statelessness, systematic discrimination and targeted violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar.

    Despite the passage of time, be in no doubt that Rohingya refugees continue to face a humanitarian emergency. 800,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh need humanitarian assistance, according to UNHCR. Aid groups have also warned of a humanitarian catastrophe if COVID-19 is not contained, but cases have already been found in the refugee camps. Low testing capacity, overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and a weak health infrastructure all increase the risk of transmission.

    Of serious concern is the cruel, continued and senseless denial of education; 400,000 Rohingya children in Bangladesh are being denied their right to a quality education. These children, who have already lost almost three years of school, currently face no prospect of formal, accredited, quality education. This has been described by Human Rights Watch as the result of intentionally obstructive policies by the Bangladesh government.

    In 2019 the UK provided an unprecedented £90 million in new funding for Education Cannot Wait (the global fund dedicated to education in crises and emergencies). However, this ambitious funding must also be matched with targeted leadership from the UK Government if Rohingya children in Bangladesh are to realise their right to education.

    As my constituency MP, I am therefore asking you to write to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and call on the Government to:

    • Publicly call on Bangladesh to allow all Rohingya children access to formal, accredited education from pre-primary through secondary school.
    • Coordinate international donors to persuade and support the Bangladesh government to lift educational restrictions that violate Rohingya refugee children’s right to education, focusing on allowing access to formal education, instruction in the Bangla language, secondary education, and the Bangla curriculum.
    • Ensure that funding to education in Bangladesh promotes the integration of refugee children in national education systems, in line with the Global Compact on Refugees
    • Ensure that funding considers the specific needs of the most marginalised including girls and disabled children

    I would be grateful if you could raise these concerns with the Prime Minister. As my member of Parliament, I would also be interested to hear your thoughts in response to the concerns I have raised.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely,

    XXXXXXX

The impact of Brexit on the Roma Community – Important Information

Within the UK and across Europe, Roma remain a vulnerable and marginalised group. Among eastern European Roma families there is a great deal of fear and confusion about the impact that Brexit could have on their right to remain in the UK. If you teach the children of Roma families or know of Roma children in your schools please take a look at our important information document. This document aims to support you in assisting your eastern European Roma families to take the necessary steps to remain lawfully resident in the UK. It also signposts the support agencies where they can receive further advice and support. Read the document here.

Justice for Colombia Peace Monitor Report

This NEU supported report details the conclusions from the Justice for Colombia (JFC) Peace Monitor delegation to Colombia which took place between 16 and 22 February 2020 and includes an update on developments in the peace process during 2020. It marks four years since the signing of the agreement. You can read the report here

Stop the closure of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study

The University of London School of Advanced Studies has recently announced plans to close the Institute of Commonwealth Studies. The four living former Secretaries-General, from Guyana, Nigeria, New Zealand and India, have sent a letter to the University of London about the proposal, to "urge the School of Advanced Study and the University itself to reconsider the proposal to close the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, to maintain its important Commonwealth links and embark on a wider and more measured process of consultation, taking into account the University’s extensive international interests and undoubted global reputation." We now urge you to call for an immediate reversal of this decision by signing the petition.

NEU calls on the World Bank and the IMF to support public investment not harmful austerity!

The NEU Joint General Secretaries have written to Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer; Richard Montgomery, Executive Director representing the UK World Bank Group; and Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director International Monetary Fund to call for action and continued vigilance in addressing the health, economic and climate crises facing the world. 

Statement on the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty

The National Education Union condemns the horrific killing of French teacher, Samuel Paty on Friday 16 October. The joint General Secretaries of the NEU have written letters of condolence and solidarity to our sister union in France and have written to the French Education Minister.

Teachers must have the right to carry out their daily work in safety. No one should face threats or violence in the course of their working lives. Members of the National Education Union in the UK are deeply shocked by the brutal killing of this teacher.

Teaching children and young people about our human rights and inspiring students to play a positive role in society is part of the vital work that teachers across the world carry out diligently every day.

We stand in solidarity with all education staff and students in France at this dreadful and traumatic moment. Mr Paty’s friends, family and colleagues are very much in our thoughts in their time of grief and mourning. We pay tribute to Samuel Paty's life and join with his French colleagues in commemorating his dedication to the profession of teaching.

Inclusive humanitarian response for the Rohingya in the face of COVID-19

The Joint General Secretaries have written a letter to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK urging an inclusive humanitarian response for the Rohingya people in the face of COVID-19. 

The Bangladesh Government have played an important role in hosting Rohingya refugees who were forced to flee atrocities perpetrated against them in Myanmar. However, deep concern still exists for the human rights and wellbeing of the Rohingya people, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.