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President of Equatorial Guinea becomes first Head of State to visit Ark of Return

5 February 2019 - The President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, H.E. Mr. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, today visited the Ark of Return, the Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the United Nations. In doing so, he became the first Head of State to visit the memorial.

The President was welcomed by Mr. Maher Nasser, the Director of the United Nations Department of Global Communications’ Outreach Division, and received a briefing on the landmark’s significance from a United Nations tour guide.

Following his tour, the President spoke in Spanish about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, saying, “Esa tragedia realmente ha perdido la vida de miles de personas inocentes simplemente para explotar esa gente, los trabajos. Los abusos que han sufrido estas personas… Yo creo que el mundo de hoy ya no puede reconocer estos actos aunque fueron actos pasados. Por eso [el Arca del Retorno] nos da la memoria para que la humanidad sea más perfecta y que haya armonía, haya compartición, haya respeto a los seres humanos. Creo que es un buen ejemplo, el hecho de que se erige un monumento en recuerdo a esa tragedia.”

[“This tragedy led to the lives of thousands of innocent people being lost – simply to exploit those people, their work. The abuses that these people have suffered... I believe that today's world can no longer even recognize these acts, even if they were past acts. That is why [the Ark of Return] makes us remember – so that humanity becomes more perfect, and there is harmony, there is sharing, there is respect for human beings. I think it's a good example, the fact that a monument has been erected in memory of that tragedy."]

Equatorial Guinea was one of the top five contributors to the United Nations Trust Fund that was established to erect the Permanent Memorial.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, visits the Ark of Return

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea,
visits the "Ark of Return," a permanent memorial at UN Headquarters designed by
architect Rodney Leon, honouring the victims of slavery and the
transatlantic slave trade. UN Photo/Mark Garten

H.E. Mr. Mahammed Naguib Soomauroo

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (centre by sculpture), President of the Republic of
Equatorial Guinea, visits the "Ark of Return." At left is Maher Nasser, Director of the
Outreach Division in the Department of Global Communications. UN Photo/Mark Garten

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