The 23rd August is acknowledged by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
In her message for this year’s Day of Remembrance, the UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova said:
UNESCO is marking International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition to pay tribute to all those who fought for freedom, and, in their name, to continue teaching about their story and the values therein. The success of this rebellion, led by the slaves themselves, is a deep source of inspiration today for the fight against all forms of servitude, racism, prejudice, racial discrimination and social injustice that are a legacy of slavery.
The history of the slave trade and slavery created a storm of rage, cruelty and bitterness that has not yet abated. It is also a story of courage, freedom and pride in newfound freedom. All of humanity is part of this story, in its transgressions and good deeds. It would be a mistake and a crime to cover it up and forget.
In 1994 the “Slave Route Project” was launched by UNESCO, based on the idea that the past should not be concealed or forgotten, and that education and research can lead to understanding and reconciliation. The project had three main objectives:
- Contribute to a better understanding of the causes, forms of operation, stakes and consequences of slavery in the world (Africa, Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, Middle East and Asia);
- Highlight the global transformations and cultural interactions that have resulted from this history;
- Contribute to a culture of peace by promoting reflection on cultural pluralism, intercultural dialogue and the construction of new identities and citizenships
For more information and updates about the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, head to:
Unfortunately, though slavery is acknowledged as a crime against humanity by the United Nations, it still exists in many forms today around the world, including in Australia.
Human Trafficking is the modern version of the slave trade, in which people are deceived or forced into slavery or slavery-like conditions. Nearly every country in the world is a source for human trafficking.
Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) and Anti-Slavery Australia are both valuable sources of reliable information about slavery and human trafficking in today’s world, including what form it can take, and how to take action if you suspect someone of being trafficked.