25 March 2013
Press Release
OBV/1204

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

International Day to Remember Victims of Slavery Honours Their Liberation

 

under Theme: ‘Forever Free: Celebrating Emancipation’

 


Today, 25 March, is the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history.


The annual observance of 25 March as the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade serves as an opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system, and to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.


In his annual message on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, “We must never forget the torture, rape and killing of innocent men, women and children, the families that were separated, the lives that were uprooted, and the horrific conditions on slave ships, plantations and at slave markets.  These degradations cannot be buried by time; they must be examined, understood and addressed”.


This year’s theme, “Forever Free:  Celebrating Emancipation,” pays tribute to the emancipation of slaves in nations across the world.  Throughout last week and today, the United Nations is celebrating and remembering the victims and heroes with films, music, dance, poetry, historical documents, exhibitions and literature.  We are marking the occasion here in New York, in more than 15 countries through our United Nations Information Centres and online.  Original copies of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution will remain on display for all to see in the United Nations Visitors’ lobby until the end of the day today.


Today, the General Assembly will hold a special annual Commemorative meeting, where Professor Ali Mazrui will deliver the keynote address.


How can you help commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade?  Join us on Twitter, @rememberslavery, Tumblr, http://rememberslavery.tumblr.com, and Facebook, http://facebook.com/rememberslavery.  You don’t have to wait until 25 March to start learning about the history and legacy of slavery.  Take part in the global conversation today!


For further information please contact:  Timothy La Rose, tel.:  +1 212 963-0984; e-mail:  larose@un.org.



For information media • not an official record