UN observes International Day of Remembrance of Slavery

Zainab Sa'id, Abuja

0
232
The Ark of Return, the Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at UNHQ

The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007, declared 25 March the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, to be observed annually.

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.”

Every year on 25 March, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system.

The International Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

Transatlantic slave trade

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.

As a direct result of the transatlantic slave trade, the greatest movement of Africans was to the Americas — with 96 per cent of the captives from the African coasts arriving on cramped slave ships at ports in South America and the Caribbean Islands.

From 1501 to 1830, four Africans crossed the Atlantic for every one European, making the demographics of the Americas in that era more of an extension of the African diaspora than a European one.

The legacy of this migration is still evident today, with large populations of people of African descent living throughout the Americas. 

Commemorative Programme of Activities

Activities commemorating this year’s event began on Thursday, 8 February 2018 at the United Nations headquarters in New York with a film that highlights the countless Afro-communities found in unexpected parts of the world. The activities will continue till Friday, 27 April 2018.

Thursday, 8 February 2018 

6:30 p.m. to 8:00 – Screening of Familiar Faces/Unexpected Places: A Global African Diaspora, Conference Room 4, United Nations New York.

Produced by Cultural Anthropologist and Executive Director of Afrodiaspora, Inc. Sheila Walker, this film highlights the countless Afro-communities found in unexpected parts of the world, such as Turkey and India, and shows how African descendants maintained elements of their cultural identity. Held in partnership with the International Decade for People of African Descent.

5 – 28 March 2018 

Exhibit: “Remember Slavery: Say it Loud”, Visitors Lobby, United Nations, NY.

The exhibit features 11 male and 11 female architects of African descent, who through their perseverance and creative talent, have gained recognition in this elite profession. Their unique perspective has enabled them to have a voice and an impact on the way public spaces are presented and utilized.

Monday, 26 March 2018

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Observed)

10:00 a.m. – General Assembly Commemorative Meeting, GA Hall, United Nations, NY
6:00 p.m. – Culinary & Cultural Experience, Visitors Lobby, United Nations, NY

Thursday, 29 March 2018

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – NGO Briefing, Conference Room 2, United Nations, NY
The briefing will highlight the personal stories and gains of people of African descent in the movement towards freedom and equality.

Friday, 27 April 2018

9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. – Global Student Videoconference, Conference Room 3, United Nations, NY

The briefing will link students in New York, the Caribbean and Africa via video conference under the theme “Remember Slavery: Triumphs and Struggles for Freedom and Equality”.

In order to more permanently honour the victims, a memorial has been erected at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The unveiling took place on 25 March 2015.

The winning design for the memorial, The Ark of Return by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent, was selected through an international competition and announced in September 2013.