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Learning from History to Eliminate Remnants of Slavery

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 26 2013 (IPS) - “On the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, we tell the world to never forget this global crime against humanity,” said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in a statement to mark the Day.

 This Day, he said, is an occasion to educate the public, especially young people, about the effects of racism, slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history.

Ban also said: “We must never forget the torture, rape and killing of innocent men, women and children, the families that were separated, the lives that were uprooted, and the horrific conditions on slave ships, plantations and at slave markets.” .

The transatlantic slave trade was the largest forced migration in history, and undeniably one of the most inhumane. The extensive exodus of Africans spread to many areas of the world over a 400-year period and was unprecedented in the annals of recorded human history.

This year’s theme, “Forever Free: Celebrating Emancipation,” pays tribute to the emancipation of slaves in nations across the world. “This year, along with sombre reflection, we have special reason to celebrate,” said Ban.

“We mark 150 years since Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing millions of African-Americans from enslavement,” he added. However, slavery persists today in different forms in the 21st Century.

“Force labour and child labour, trafficking person, sexual exploitation of women have been identified as contemporary forms of slavery,” said, Vuk Jeremic, President of the General Assembly who had convened a special commemorative meeting of the General Assembly on the occasion of the International Day.

“On this Day, let us pledge to honour and restore the dignity of affected people and to intensify efforts to eliminate the remnants of slavery that persist in our world,” Ban stated.

“While we recall slavery’s horrors, we must also address the lingering consequences. While we remember the victims, we pledge to fight for equality, justice and peace. This is the most meaningful way to honour their memory,” he concluded.

 
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