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Cambodian and Rwandan genocides to be taught in schools

Scottish school pupils will be encouraged to learn about genocides in countries such as Cambodia and Rwanda, as well as their current studies of the Holocaust.

New classroom materials have been created by curriculum body Education Scotland, which explores the experiences of genocide survivors from across the world.

The resources, which are available to teachers through the schools' intranet Glow, also examine genocides in Bosnia and Darfur.

The materials have been made available in advance of Holocaust Memorial Day - the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in German-occupied Poland, where millions of Jews were murdered by the Nazis.

Education Scotland is also running a number of events involving survivors of genocides, which will be broadcast live through Glow, as well as being recorded for future use. One of the testimonies will be from Arn Chorn-Pond, who was born in Cambodia in 1966 into a family of performers and musicians.

When the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975, Chorn-Pond and hundreds of other children were sent to Wat Ek, a Buddhist temple converted into a prison camp, where he witnessed terrible atrocities.

When the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia he was forced to fight with the Khmer Rouge, but managed to escape into the jungle.Chorn Pond said: "The experiences I had as a child, no child should have to go through. Speaking to young people about these experiences and responding to their questions will help them understand there are places in the world where human rights are abused."

Lynne Robertson, a senior education officer with Education Scotland, said: "Many schools already cover the Holocaust, but we are also seeing a lot of good work being carried out around more recent conflicts such as the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and more recently in relation to the Rwandan genocide.

"Looking at these events, the effects they have on individuals, populations and countries is an important lesson for learners to help raise awareness of atrocities that continue to take place today."

Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, will also be interviewed by pupils he visited Auschwitz with last year.

He said: "Last year, when we visited Auschwitz, it was clear the group of Scottish young people I was with were really impacted by what they encountered.

"I was struck by how much hope you can take away from an experience like that when you look at the reaction of our young people."

The events are part of a range of activities in schools across Scotland to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Monday 27 January.

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