Education is key. This is the motto that Miguel Moratinos-Cuyaubé kept reminding the audience in his intervention on the 76th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Auschwitz camp. The online meeting gathered Millie Magid, the B’nai B’rith Chair of UN Affairs, Dan Mariaschin, CEO of B’nai B’rith International and David Michaels, B’nai B’rith Director of UN and International Affairs, to discuss the lessons of the holocaust and the role of the United Nations in the fight against anti-semitism. Although the term may seem outdated, prejudices are still present nowadays and racist propaganda is easily spread on social media; but how can we defeat hate speech? And which should be the role of the UN?
Amongst plenty of strategies such as reporting anti-semitism or asking governments to protect their citizens from hate speech, Moratinos advocated for the need of investment in education programs. These programs will help young and older generations to empathize with the horrors of the holocaust, its prejudices, and its discriminations based on religious beliefs, ethnicity and sexual orientation, among others. It is with education that we will value and understand others’ beliefs, reasonings and personal histories. Precisely this latter aspect, personal histories, is the best way to keep in mind that, despite differences, they are all human lives.
Education is not only necessary to bear in mind historical atrocities but to understand, criticize and fight human rights violations that are still happening nowadays, such as those in the Gaza Strip. Through remembrance of the past we should learn and apply common knowledge to the present. The point is not to repeat history but to build a new empathic and less-prejudiced chapter. This is why raising awareness and promoting events and conferences such as the one held by B’nai B’rith is important. However, the UN also needs to consider other important questions regarding human rights that were not specifically mentioned in the online conference.
Making policies against hate speech, (re)educating forthcoming generations and being as neutral as possible in diplomatic confrontations are still challenges that the UN faces. Working towards the total implementation of the Declaration of Human Rights is a must in this organization, and only with respect and acceptance will this be accomplished.
Marina Palau, intern@ICDET