14.04.2014 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery

Bandung, 11 April 2014. To mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and to raise public awareness about slavery and transatlantic slave trade and links to regional context, UNESCO, UNIC and Parahyangan University teamed up to organize an event entitled “The Transatlantic Slave Trade – Views from Indonesia and beyond”.

The annual observance of 25 March as the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade serves as an opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system, and to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

The event was linked to the Parahyangan University Film Festival and was held in the historic building ‘Gedung Asia Africa’ which hosted the Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung in 1955. The format of the event was interactive and consisted of opening remarks, Video Screenings and a panel discussion about the history of Slave Trade and modern-day issues associated with slavery.

Opening remarks were given by Mr. Muhammed Anshor, the Director for Human Rights, Ministry of Foreign Affiars, Indonesia, Mr. Michele Zaccheo of UNIC and Mr. Hubert Gijzen from UNESCO. In his opening remarks Mr. Gijzen emphasized the importance of education for raising awareness about the slave trade and slavery and for better understanding the fabric of societies we live in today. Through its cultural and educational programmes, UNESCO works to safeguard and promote this history and heritage as a force for rapprochement and dialogue today. “The significance and implications of this history must be known to all and must be taught in and outside schools, through the media and in the public arena. This can only happen on the basis of respect, equal dignity and mutual understanding – which are the guiding principles of the UNESCO Slave Route Project” he said.

Under the Slave Route Project, which was started in 1994, UNESCO aims to reveal the extent and consequences of this human tragedy and to portray the wealth of the cultural traditions that African peoples have forged in the face of adversity – in art, music, dance and culture in its broader sense.

After the screening of UNESCO’s film “Slave Roots: The Soul of Resistance", Mr. Hubert Gijzen joined a panel discussion on “Legacies of slavery, migration and forced labour: Indonesian and global perspectives”, which focused amongst others on contemporary issues raised by slavery - including continuing forms of racial prejudice inherited from the past, and on new forms of slavery and forced labor that subsist to this day and affect some 21 million people globally.

Therefore, the event also helped remind us that injustice – however deep-rooted and widespread -- cannot prevail. It will inspire us in the struggles we lead today against racial prejudice and discrimination, against all forms of slavery that persist.

Download the speech here

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