Saturday, 20 September 2014

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23 August: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition

slave 02The night of 22 to 23 August 1791, in Santo Domingo (today Haiti and the Dominican Republic) saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is intended to inscribe the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples. In accordance with the goals of the intercultural project "The Slave Route", it should offer an opportunity for collective consideration of the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of this tragedy, and for an analysis of the interactions to which it has given rise between Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.

The slave trade which, from the 6th to the 20th century seized millions of Africans from their homeland to deport and enslave them in different parts of the world, has long been a hidden history. In order not to forget this tragedy, UNESCO launched in 1994 in Ouidah (Benin), The Slave Route Project: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage, whose aim is to meet the historical and moral obligation of tackling in a holistic, methodical and consensual manner this painful chapter in the history of humankind.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in a number of countries, in particular in Haiti (23 August 1998) and Goree in Senegal (23 August 1999). Cultural events and debates too were organized. The year 2001 saw the participation of the Mulhouse Textile Museum in France in the form of a workshop for fabrics called "Indiennes de Traite" (a type of calico) which served as currency for the exchange of slaves in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

On this Day of Commemoration, UNESCO invites people around the world to remember, to reflect on the consequences of the past on our present, on the new requirements of living together in our multicultural societies and on the fight against contemporary forms of slavery of which millions of human beings are still victims.


Source: UNESCO

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