Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, observed on 25 March:
This moving memorial commemorates the women, men and children who suffered and died after being forced on to slave ships to cross the Atlantic — one of the biggest crimes in the history of humankind.
The theme for this year’s International Day of Remembrance is: “Confronting Slavery’s Legacy of Racism Together”.
Because while we reject racism, we still live in the shadow of the transatlantic slave trade. Racism continues to play a strong role in our world. Racism is the reason why outside Africa, people of African descent are often among the last in line for health care, education, justice and opportunities of all kinds.
We need to raise our voices against all expressions of racism and instances of racist behaviour. We urgently need to dismantle racist structures and reform racist institutions.
We can only move forward by confronting the racist legacy of slavery together.