The UN honored victims of the transatlantic slave trade at UN headquarters in New York yesterday on the first International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
The UN General Assembly designated 25 March in December of last year as an annual International Day for the Commemoration of the Two-Hundredth Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, beginning in this year.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed hope that the struggle of these victims against “one of the greatest atrocities in history” will inspire the world to continue to fight against the modern emanations of slavery, such a forced labor, debt peonage and trafficking.
“Even as we mourn the atrocities committed against the countless victims,” Ban said in his address, “we take heart from the courage of slaves who rose up to overcome the system which oppressed them. These brave individuals, and the abolitionist movements they inspired, should serve as an example to us all as we continue to battle the contemporary forms of slavery that stain our world today.”
Ban challenged the world to respond: “Let us honor the victims of the slave trade by remembering their struggle. Let us carry it forward until no person is deprived of liberty, dignity and human rights.”
UN General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim seeks to address the serious threat of modern slavery and intends to convene a special meeting of the Assembly on the issue on June 3 of this year.