EN84 2021-08-25 25次
Message from Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, on the Occasion of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition
23 August 2021
On 23 August this year, we honour the memory of the men and women who, in SaintDomingue in 1791, revolted and paved the way for the end of slavery and dehumanization. We pay tribute to their memory and that of all other victims of the slave trade, for whom they stand.
The fight against the slave trade and slavery is universal and ongoing. It is the reason for which UNESCO led the efforts to launch the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, which acknowledges the pivotal struggle of those who, subjected to the denial of their very humanity, fought against the slave system.
The slave trade is the product of a racist world view. Established as a system of thought, this view has been the basis for profoundly unjust political, economic and social practices which are now recognized as a crime against humanity.
For a quarter century, UNESCO’s Slave Route Project: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage has sought to help governments, universities, the media and civil society organizations to examine this tragic chapter in our history, to combat ignorance and the denial of a past which has nevertheless been extensively documented, and to raise awareness of this heritage in all its complexity. It is a project that is key to the International Decade for People of African Descent,1 which was launched by the United Nations in 2014 and has been enriched by UNESCO's work on racism and discrimination ever since.
The Slave Route Project aims to deconstruct the rhetorical and pseudo-scientific mechanisms that served to justify this system, and rejects all excuses and compromises associated with them. This rational approach lays the ground for the reconciliation of memories and the fight against all modern forms of servitude and discrimination.
Every day, throughout the world, men and women of African descent continue to endure the effects of this grim legacy. It persists in the rhetoric, the acts and the violence it has fomented, which are not isolated events and are the basis for discrimination that sometimes even costs people their lives. Today, the world understands the gravity of this situation.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted and exacerbated the glaring inequalities suffered daily by people of African descent, who are particularly affected by the coronavirus disease. We have been forced to acknowledge their vulnerability and the inadequacy of their healthcare, particularly for women and girls. Already victims of socioeconomic inequalities, they are also, in all areas, among the first victims of the consequences of the crisis.
At the same time, youth movements have been rising up around the world to reject the brutal expressions of systemic violence perpetrated against people of colour.
On this day of remembrance, UNESCO reaffirms its support for Member States so that together we can devise new forms of action to put an end to racial discrimination.
It is time to abolish human exploitation once and for all, and to recognize the equal and unconditional dignity of each and every individual. Today, let us remember the victims and freedom fighters of the past so that they may inspire future generations to build just societies.
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