INTERNATIONAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE OF THE VICTIMS OF SLAVERY AND THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE

4 Apr

Field visit for Ghanaian students

Friday, March 30, 2012

“Imagine being torn from your weeping family as a result of ethnic warfare…forced to walk hundreds of miles until you reach the sea on the West African side of the Atlantic Ocean. You are stripped of your name, your identity, of every right a human being deserves. The European ship that you are forced to board is headed across the Atlantic to Caribbean and South American plantations, a voyage through the awful “middle passage”. A multitude of black people of every description chained together, with scarcely room to turn, traveling for months, seasick, surrounded by the filth of vomit-filled tubs, into which children often fell, some suffocating. The shrieks of the women and the groans of the dying render the whole scene of horror almost inconceivable. Death and disease are all around and only one in six will survive this journey and the brutal, backbreaking labour that follows.”

This scenario lasted for 400 years from the 16th century to the 19th century with the sale and exploitation of millions of Africans by Europeans. It is estimated that between 15 to 20 million people, men, women and children, were deported from their homes and sold as slaves in the different slave trading systems.

On 17 December 2007, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution (62/122) which declared 25 March the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The resolution also called for the establishment of an outreach programme to mobilize educational institutions, civil society and other organizations to inculcate in future generations the “causes, consequences and lessons of the transatlantic slave trade, and to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice.”

Why do we commemorate the Day?

The purpose of this Day is to honour the memory of those who died as a result of slavery as well as those who have been exposed to the horrors of the middle passage and have fought for freedom from enslavement. The yearly remembrance also serves as an occasion to raise awareness to the world’s youth about the dangers of racism and prejudice. This commitment by the UN and the actions used to fight against the system of slavery had an impact on the human rights movement.

2012 Theme: “Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors”

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