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:
Today, we honour the memory of the millions of people of African descent who suffered under the brutal system of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. This trade created and sustained a global system of exploitation that existed for more than 400 years, devastating families, communities and economies.
We remember with humility the resilience of those who endured the atrocities committed by slave traders and owners, condoned by slavery’s beneficiaries. We acknowledge the immense contributions that enslaved men, women and children made to the culture, knowledge and economies of the countries to which they were transported. And we honour the memory of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade by educating about its history and acknowledging its impact on our world today.
The transatlantic slave trade ended more than two centuries ago, but the ideas of white supremacy that underpinned it remain alive. We must end the legacy of this racist lie. We must work together to address the pernicious and persistent consequences of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. We will do this by renewing our determination to tackle racism, injustice and inequality and by building inclusive communities and economies.
On this day, let us renew our commitment to a world where all can live in peace with dignity and opportunity.