Panafrican News Agency

DR Congo: UNESCO urges member states to make role of slaves in history widely known

Kinshasa, DR Congo (PANA) - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has called on member states and partners of the UN specialised agency to mark Thursday as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition by redoubling their efforts to ensure that the role played by slaves, in winning recognition of universal human rights, is better
known and taught more widely.

"The history of the slave trade tells not only of the suffering endured but also of the
ultimately victorious struggle for freedom and human rights, symbolized by the slave uprising in Saint Domingue on the night of 22-23 August 1791," Bokova recalled in her message for the day.

"That struggle has lastingly strengthened awareness of the equality of all men and
women, which we have all inherited directly," she said, stressing that their emancipatory vision should guide all people in efforts to build a culture of tolerance and respect.

UNESCO’s educational and cultural programmes and support for historical research, according to Bokova, are intended to highlight the wealth of the traditions that African peoples have forged in the face of adversity – in art, music, dance and culture in its broader sense, creating indissoluble ties between peoples and continents and irreversibly transforming the
face of society.

"This heritage is invaluable for living in peace in our globalized world on the eve of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024)," the UNESCO chief noted, explaining that transmission of this history should be seen as an essential condition for any lasting peace based on mutual understanding among peoples and full awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice.

"It also helps us to continue mobilizing against modern forms of slavery and trafficking in human beings that still affect more than 20 million people worldwide," she said.

Bokova announced that UNESCO is contributing actively towards the design of a Permanent Memorial to and Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, to be established at the UN headquarters in New York.

-0- PANA KON/IS/MSA/AR 21Aug2014