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General Assembly President pays tribute to those who rebelled against slavery

Shackles used to bind slaves.
UN Photo/Mark Garten
Shackles used to bind slaves.

General Assembly President pays tribute to those who rebelled against slavery

The President of the General Assembly Nassir, Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, today paid tribute to the courage of the men and women who rebelled against the cruelty of slavery, adding that the world must continue to reaffirm its commitment to preventing servitude.

“We salute the courage of the brave men and women, who rebelled against the cruel and brutal practice of slavery, and who, in doing so, regained their spirit and their independence, both during slavery and in its aftermath,” Mr. Al-Nasser said on Tuesday evening at a concert in support of the building of a permanent memorial to honour the victims of slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade at UN Headquarters.

“We collectively reaffirm the commitment of the international community to preventing such suffering from occurring again,” he said.

The concert is linked to the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, which took place on 25 March, and for which the theme was “Honouring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors.”

Artists taking part in the concert include Haitian-American singer Rachelle Jeanty, Senegalese musician Mbaya Dieye Faye, hip-hop performers Chen Lo and the Lo Frequency Band, and Jamaican reggae artists The Third World Band.

In his remarks, Mr. Al-Nasser pointed out that from the evils of slavery, music evolved, along with other rich cultural practices such as dance, cooking, poetry and story-telling.

“This music is a powerful reminder that the spirit and culture of the slaves could not be diminished,” he told the audience. “This music is a powerful reminder of the miracle of the endurance of the human spirit.”

Plans are under way to erect a permanent memorial at UN Headquarters to remind the world that millions of Africans were violently removed from their homelands, abused and robbed of their dignity over the course of four centuries during the transatlantic slave trade.

The transatlantic slave trade, often known as the triangular trade, connected the economies of three continents. It is estimated that between 15 and 20 million people, men, women and children, were deported from their homes and sold as slaves in the different slave trading systems.