On International Day for Abolition of Slavery, Annan calls for ‘zero tolerance’

2 December 2005

Despite centuries of struggle, slavery has not been completely eradicated from the world and those responsible must be held accountable by international means if necessary, United Nations secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message today marking the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

Despite centuries of struggle, slavery has not been completely eradicated from the world and those responsible must be held accountable by international means if necessary, United Nations secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message today marking the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

“Let us reiterate our conviction that human dignity is at the heart of the work of the United Nations, and that ensuring full respect for the human being requires zero tolerance for slavery,” he declared.

“Many forms of slavery persist, including forced and bonded labour, child labour and slavery for ritual or religious purposes. The world is also now wrestling with a new form of slavery - trafficking in human beings, in which many vulnerable people are virtually abandoned by legal and social systems into a sordid realm of exploitation and abuse,” he added.

“People who perpetrate, condone or facilitate slavery or slavery-like practices must be held accountable by national and, if necessary, international means. The international community must also do more to combat poverty, social exclusion, illiteracy, ignorance and discrimination, which increase vulnerability and are part of the underlying context for this scourge.”

Mr. Annan called on all states to ratify and implement existing UN treaties and additional protocols aimed preventing such practices as trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and punishing those responsible as well as to contribute generously to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, which aids victims.

 

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