23 August: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition
At its 29th session, the UNESCO Executive Board adopted the Resolution 29 C/40, proclaiming 23 August, the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition, in tribute to the night of 22 to 23 August 1791, when the uprising of slaves took place in Sant Domingue and, led later on the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and the creation of the first Black independent State, the Republic of Haiti.
The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition, celebrated every 23 August, has a special meaning this year 2011, which was proclaimed by the General Assembly of United Nations, the International Year for People of African Descent.
In 1994, UNESCO launched the “Slave Route Programme” which mostly aims at highlighting the economic, social, cultural and demographic transformations resulting from the transatlantic slave trade, and promoting the Intercultural dialogue between Africa and the other regions of the world.
As is tradition, the commemoration of this International Day this year 2011, will be done in the same spirit of open-mindedness and dialogue. In this regard, several celebrations, some of which are listed below, initiated or in collaboration with UNESCO will be organized in several African countries, notably in:
- Senegal: Return to Goree: Remembrance of the Slave Trade and of its Abolition
UNESCO-BREDA is organizing a conference-debate as well as a number other activities at the symbolic site of the Boubacar Joseph Ndiaye socio-cultural centre in Goree. These celebrations will focus on the educational aspect, the cultural interactions and human rights;
- Angola: Conference on “Angolese slaves also populated the Dutch West Indies - Escravos angolanos povoaram também as Antilhas Neerlandesas”, organized by the Eduardo Dos Santos Foundation, at the University Augustino Neto in Luanda;
- Democratic Republic of Congo: Workshop on the achievements of the Slave Route project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Organized by UNESCO Office in Kinshasa, this workshop will also be composed of the official presentation of “The slave trade, slavery and colonial violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo” followed by a screening of the documentary "Slave Routes: A Global Vision";
- Madagascar : a screening of the documentary "Slave Routes: A Global Vision" at the University of Tananarivo.
UNESCO produces a wide range of publications related to the Slave Route project and which contribute to promote academic resarch and deepen knowledge on slave trade and slavery.
Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General, on the occasion of International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, 23 August 2011
UN Slavery Memorial website