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International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition - 23rd August 2020



The 23rd of August, marks International Day of

Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the

Transatlantic Slave Trade, in accordance with the UN

General Assembly resolution of 17 December 2007, as well

as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave

Trade and its Abolition, declared by UNESCO in 1994. 


Slavery, a crime against humanity, deprived individuals of

their freedom and stripped them of their dignity. By

applying the principles of property law on humans,

considering the enslaved as justly owned objects, they were

exploited and forced to work the entirety of their lives, for

nothing in return. The slave trade led to the destruction of

societies, the development of foreign colonies and slave

based economies, in addition to the encouragement of

ethnic and social division. 


The night of 22 to 23 August 1791, Saint-Domingue (modern Haiti) saw the beginning of an uprising that would directly result in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. The slave rebellion succeeded in weakening the Caribbean colonial system, challenging ideologies of black inferiority and enslaved individuals' lack of organizational capacity and  inability to achieve and maintain their own freedom.  


The Geneva Institute for Human Rights reaffirms the significance of this anniversary, and reminds the world that slavery was one of the was most devastating and atrocious crimes afflicted on mankind. The 2020 theme  “Confronting Slavery’s Legacy of Racism Together” highlights the lasting effects of the slave trade, including racism, violent aggression, economic, political and social discrimination. Hence, international observance of this day aims to create a path of peace and dignity, a peaceful co-existence and to denounce the inhumane and immoral practices and unjust differentiation. 


The Geneva Institute for Human Rights commemorates this day in order to shed a light on the fight against all contemporary forms and manifestations of slavery and encourage the collective recognition and focus on the history of slavery, the methods and its consequences. Only through confrontation of the repugnant and inhumane historic causes of slavery, can we achieve true inclusion. 


Furthermore, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the uncertainty and turmoil has led to the birth of hostility and discrimination in the global community and encouraged public advocacy for conspiracies and stigma. Thus, it is important to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.


The Geneva Institute for Human Rights affirms its commitment to adhering to the application of human rights principles and urges all states to draw inspiration from the slave trade in their continued fight against all forms of racial discrimination, prejudice, social injustice.

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