Holocaust Memorial Day

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:28 pm on 26th January 2023.

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Photo of Fiona Bruce Fiona Bruce Conservative, Congleton 2:28 pm, 26th January 2023

I thank the hon. Member for his intervention. I will indeed congratulate the Holocaust Educational Trust later in my speech.

It is vital that we teach even the youngest children about the importance of not discriminating against others on account of their beliefs, just as they understand so well the importance of not discriminating against others on account of disability.

I have the privilege of chairing the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance, a growing group of 42 countries whose Governments, like ours, have formally committed to protecting and promoting freedom of religion or belief around the world. It is our aspiration to see the toolkit that I mentioned, when it is developed, used in schools across our 42 countries. I am proud that the toolkit is currently being piloted in the UK, including in a school in my constituency.

As the years go by and our brave, inspirational holocaust survivors, with their testimonies, diminish in number, we must ensure that their voice is sustained, not least with young ambassadors. I pay tribute to the Holocaust Educational Trust for the excellent work that it does in that regard.

The alliance I chair is promoting the connection of young freedom of religion or belief ambassadors around the world. We are working towards a 2023 virtual global conference engaging young FORB ambassadors, and we want to involve three groups of young people: first, young people from democratic societies like our own who have not personally experienced persecution but care about the issue and want to do more; secondly, young people in the diaspora here in the UK with ties in countries such as Nigeria and direct concerns to relay; and, thirdly and critically, young people who live in countries where there is persecution and are experiencing it themselves—places such as Myanmar, where there is already strong interest from young people, and Hong Kong, where oppression on account of religion is an increasing concern.

As we plan this virtual global conference, I would welcome contacts from colleagues, all-party parliamentary group country chairs and others with young people from across the world who may be interested in engaging with the event late in 2023. This is a way in which we here can act. Indeed, we can all do something to make “never again” a reality for the next generation, and it is so heartening that, in this Parliament, elected Members right across the political spectrum are determined to do so.