Friday 25th March marks the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This day is honoured every year by the United Nations to remember those who, for over 400 years, suffered and died as victims of this tragic and brutal slavery system, and to raise awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice in today’s world.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon has released the following message in anticipation of the 2016 Day of Remembrance:
Each year on this day, the United Nations honours the memory of millions of Africans forcibly removed from their families and homelands over hundreds of years.
The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade also shines a spotlight on prevailing racism and prejudice today.
It is imperative that we work together for equal opportunity, justice and sustainable development for people of African descent. That is why the United Nations Remember Slavery Programme is reaching out to young and old alike to create awareness, promote understanding and change attitudes.
The theme of this year’s observance is “Remember Slavery: Celebrating the Heritage and Culture of the African Diaspora and its Roots”.
The dynamic culture and traditions of Africa continue to enrich life in the countries that were once involved in the Transatlantic slave trade.
Africa’s influence and legacy are plain to see in the vibrant music, bold art, rich foods and inspiring literature that infuse modern culture. Less recognized, perhaps, are the contributions that the people of the African diaspora have made to medicine, science, government and general leadership in society.
Tested to the limits of their spirit and endurance, slaves from Africa left their descendants a wide range of invaluable assets, including fortitude, courage, strength, tolerance, patience and compassion. On this Day, let us renew our resolve to fight racism and celebrate the heritage of Africa that enhances societies around the world today.
– Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General, 2016 Message for International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
For more information on the history of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the International Day of Remembrance for its victims, please visit the United Nations’ website dedicated to this important day.