Saturday, August 19, 2006

UNESCO's Actions Against Slavery

In observance of the 50th week (08/21-08/27) of UNESCO’s 60th anniversary celebrations, we have selected for you a set of links and events dedicated to the Struggle Against Slavery.

In order to encourage reflection, scientific and historical research and the dissemination of information on slavery and its consequences, UNESCO’s Culture and Education Sectors develop new initiatives to combat the lingering consequences of the slave trade and slavery such as discrimination and racism.

In 1993, UNESCO approved the implementation of the "Slave Route" Project before moving on with the publication of "From Chains to Bonds: the Slave Trade Revisited" (1998). The idea of a "Route" expresses the dynamics of the movement of peoples, civilizations and cultures, while that of "slave" addresses not only the universal phenomenon of slavery, but also in a more precise and explicit way the transatlantic slave trade in the Atlantic, and slave trade the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. >> More

The transatlantic slave trade is often regarded as the first system of globalization. Millions of Africans were torn from their homes, deported to the American continent and sold as slaves. Two outstanding decrees for abolition were produced during the nineteenth century: the Abolition Bill passed by the British Parliament in August 1833 and the French decree signed by the Provisional Government in April 1848. In the United States, Abraham Lincoln extended the abolition of slavery to the whole Union in the wake of the Civil War in 1865. The abolition of slavery became the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Yet, despite the abolition of slavery, modern forms of slavery persist . In the context of the "Project to Fight Human Trafficking in Africa", UNESCO aims to promote effective and culturally appropriate policy-making to combat the trafficking of women and children in Africa. Today various international conventions define slavery and human trafficking as a "crime against humanity" punishable by international law. See legal instruments.

23 August: International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. The night of 22 to 23 August 1791 marks a crucial date in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. The Director-General of UNESCO invites the Ministers of Culture of all Member States to organize events every year on that date, involving the entire population of their country and in particular young people, educators, artists and intellectuals. >> More

19-22 September, 2006: 50th Anniversary of the 1st International Congress of Black Writers and Artists. Nobel Prize Laureate Wole Soyinka, a Goodwill Ambassador to UNESCO, President of the African Community of Culture and the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University will celebrate the event at the Sorbonne University and the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris. UNESCO is officially bringing its technical and financial support for this event mainly through the Division of Cultural Policies and Intercultural Dialogue and the Africa Department. >> More

* UNESCO, in collaboration with the Schomburg Center for Research on Black Culture (New York), has set up the Traveling Exhibition "Lest We Forget: Triumph over Slavery".This exhibition focuses on the centrality of the slave trade in the making of the modern world.

Read more
* UNESCO Programmes around this project
* History of the Slave Trade
* The 2006 Slave Route Project Brochure

The Struggle Against Slavery Brochure

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