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Sierra Leone Minister Visits Ark of Return

On 10 May 2019, the Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs of Sierra Leone, H.E. Ms. Memunatu Pratt, paid tribute to the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade at the Ark of Return.

Minister Pratt underscored the importance of memorials in preserving the history of the transatlantic slave trade and helping people to come to terms with the kinds of problems and challenges that it had imposed on people.

She noted that Sierra Leone had strong links to the transatlantic slave trade because it had been one of the “source markets in terms of shipment of slaves to the New World.” Following the abolition of slavery, the country received former enslaved Africans from the Caribbean and Canada and became “a sort of melting pot.”

“What is important are the legacies of places like Bunce Island and other sites because when you go there you have an opportunity to witness the atrocities, violence and human rights abuses that took place there,” said Minister Pratt. “Today, many people in Sierra Leone and other countries are still suffering the psychological impact of slavery because they have not been able to feel fully emancipated.”

Bunce Island was established as a slave trading station in 1670 and operated until 1808. From there, tens of thousands of enslaved Africans were sent to the Americas. The fort was abandoned in 1840 and became a national monument in 1948.

Sierra Leone Minister Visits Ark of Return

H.E. Ms. Memunatu Pratt, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs of Sierra Leone,
visits the Ark of Return accompanied by Mr. Maher Nasser, Department of Global
Communications Outreach Division Director.
UN Photo: DGC/Max Hundhammer.

Sierra Leone Minister Visits Ark of Return

H.E. Ms. Memunatu Pratt, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs of Sierra Leone,
visits the Ark of Return accompanied by Mr. Maher Nasser, Department of Global
Communications Outreach Division Director.
UN Photo: DGC/Max Hundhammer.

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