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The role of sites of remembrance: places of commemoration and education for democratic citizenship

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 15471 | 08 March 2022

Signatories:
Mr Roberto RAMPI, Italy, SOC ; Ms Marina BERLINGHIERI, Italy, SOC ; Mr Bertrand BOUYX, France, ALDE ; Mr Maurizio BUCCARELLA, Italy, SOC ; Ms Sabrina DE CARLO, Italy, NR ; Mr Fabio DI MICCO, Italy, NR ; Lord Alexander DUNDEE, United Kingdom, EC/DA ; Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU, Cyprus, SOC ; Mr Yunus EMRE, Turkey, SOC ; Ms Christiana EROTOKRITOU, Cyprus, SOC ; Mr Emilio FLORIS, Italy, EPP/CD ; Lord George FOULKES, United Kingdom, SOC ; Mr Carlos Alberto GONÇALVES, Portugal, EPP/CD ; Mr Paolo GRIMOLDI, Italy, EC/DA ; Mr Andries GRYFFROY, Belgium, NR ; Ms Linda Hofstad HELLELAND, Norway, EPP/CD ; Ms Maria-Gabriela HORGA, Romania, EPP/CD ; Ms Fiona O'LOUGHLIN, Ireland, ALDE ; Ms Catia POLIDORI, Italy, EPP/CD ; Mr Frédéric REISS, France, EPP/CD ; Mr Alberto RIBOLLA, Italy, EC/DA ; Ms Maria RIZZOTTI, Italy, EPP/CD ; Ms Tatjana ROJC, Italy, SOC ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Mr Zeki Hakan SIDALI, Turkey, ALDE ; Ms Jane STEVENSON, United Kingdom, EC/DA ; Mr Nicos TORNARITIS, Cyprus, EPP/CD ; Mr Manuel VESCOVI, Italy, EC/DA

In its Resolution 2426 (2022) and Recommendation 2224 (2022) “The Observatory for history teaching in Europe”, the Parliamentary Assembly argues that “history education is key to strengthening young people’s competences to be fully part of and adhere to a democratic culture. Historical knowledge and a critical understanding of political, social, cultural and economic systems and their interaction are the basis for a more nuanced and mutually respectful debate, and for a deeper understanding of the past and present, thus preparing young people for taking an active part in democratic life.”

As a follow-up and in line with the report entitled “Media freedom, public trust and the citizens’ right to know” (Doc. 15308), the Assembly could analyse the important role of heritage sites and remembrance events that commemorate the strenuous past of the 19th and 20th centuries. By linking sensitive historical events with present times, remembrance becomes a factor for healing and resilience after trauma, and for reconciliation and solidarity, leading to a more positive future.

It would be important to explore from an educational point of view what guidance the Council of Europe could give to encourage a positive use of remembrance as a tool to deepen a nuanced understanding of events, to re-contextualise them by providing multiple historical perspectives and to lead young people to consider these events from the angle of human rights and democracy.

This research could explore connections between, firstly, innovative methods in history education when dealing with a sensitive past in the context of increasingly multicultural societies; secondly, methods to deal with remembrance heritage sites by following a democratic approach based on the principles of the Faro Convention; and finally the role of cultural institutions (museums and archives), the audio-visual sector, and artists that can help contextualise sensitive and controversial historical events.