International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

By: Natalia Brusco/GICJ

25 March 2021

March 25th marks the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade as declared by the General Assembly after adopting resolution 62/122. Despite world progress towards ending the enslavement of humans, slavery continues to exist today and remains one of the many evils that society has failed to obliterate. The Transatlantic Slave Trade passed down systemic abuses that are accentuated in all aspects of today’s world, impacting those with a darker skin color to face constant prejudice because of the deep roots today’s injustices have in the slave trade.  

“Ending Slavery’s Legacy of Racism: A Global Imperative for Justice” is the 2021 theme and serves to remind the international community that the fight against slavery is far from over. The aftermath and “legacy” of the Transatlantic Slave Trade can be seen across societies in all corners of the world due to the countless injustices faced by those with darker skin. In order to overcome slavery, the world must remember and acknowledge the past and understand that the roots of injustices today come from the events of yesterday such as the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The effects of slavery continue to serve as an obstacle to human rights. Although the exploitation of people is a serious violation of human rights, it is still in existence due to blatant perpetration and corrupt legal systems. To deny slavery is to deny past and present institutional injustices and inhumanity. To ignore acts of discrimination is to admit one’s uneducated stance on racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia. Whether pertaining to today’s issues of racism or the Transatlantic Slave Trade, they are ultimately intertwined by the neglection of equal human rights, monetary motivation, and abhorrent treatment of people. Today, there is a sincere need for global awareness of the causes and effects of the slave trade.

We must continue to fight against modern slavery while remembering the past evils of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, as tackling the roots of the problem requires educating people on what happened and how it directly translates to the evils and inequalities that remain in effect today. We must commemorate the victims of slavery and work together, as an international community, to prevent more peoples from becoming victims today. As Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary-General, stated, “Every morning, we must wake up ready to fight it again”.

Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) encourages society to honor this day and calls for global unification against the continued practices of slavery and racism. GICJ favors the strong moral values the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) presents and the importance of educating others about the Transatlantic Slave Trade. We recommend that States and its governing bodies, NGOs, and international communities abide by the DDPA and recognize the significance of March 25th in order to participate in the on-going fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and other intolerances.

To bring modern day slavery to an end, a multi-faceted solution is needed: the problem should be tackled economically, socially, culturally and legally. Especially on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, it is important to learn from the past. As the problem of modern slavery exceeds national borders, GICJ encourages the international community to strengthen its cooperation in order to fully ban all forms of the practice and calls for stronger social protection for vulnerable individuals. The effects of slavery can still be seen today and thus, we must continue to seek justice for those who remain affected. Although justice takes many forms, remembrance and education are the first steps.

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