International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition 2022: History and theme

The theme for this year is 'Decolonisation.' The fundamental right to self-determination is identified by the United Nations as core to decolonization, allowing not only independence, but also other ways of decolonization

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, August 22, 2022, 03:46 PM IST
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The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is an international day celebrated on August 23 of each year, the day designated by UNESCO to memorialize the transatlantic slave trade.

UNESCO Member States organize events every year on that date, inviting participation from young people, educators, artists and intellectuals.

As part of the goals of the intercultural UNESCO project, "The Slave Route", it is an opportunity for collective recognition and focus on the "historic causes, the methods and the consequences" of slavery.

Additionally, it sets the stage for analysis and dialogue of the interactions which gave rise to the transatlantic trade in human beings between Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.

History

On the night of 22 to 23 August 1791, in Saint Domingue, today the Republic of Haiti, saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

It is against this background that the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is commemorated on 23 August each year. It was first celebrated in a number of countries, in particular in Haiti (23 August 1998) and Gorée Island in Senegal (23 August 1999).

That date was chosen by the adoption of resolution 29 C/40 by the Organization's General Conference at its 29th session. Circular CL/3494 of July 29, 1998, from the Director-General invited Ministers of Culture to promote the day.

This International Day is intended to inscribe the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples. It should offer an opportunity for collective consideration of the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of this tragedy, and for an analysis of the interactions to which it has given rise between Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.

Theme

The theme for this year is 'Decolonisation.'

The fundamental right to self-determination is identified by the United Nations as core to decolonization, allowing not only independence, but also other ways of decolonization.

The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization has stated that in the process of decolonization there is no alternative to the colonizer but to allow a process of self-determination.

Self-determination continues to be claimed within independent states, demanding decolonization, as in the case of Indigenous Peoples.

Decolonization may involve either nonviolent revolution or national liberation wars by pro-independence groups. It may be intranational or involve the intervention of foreign powers acting individually or through international bodies such as the United Nations.

Although examples of decolonization can be found as early as the writings of Thucydides, there have been several particularly active periods of decolonization in modern times.

These include the breakup of the Spanish Empire in the 19th century; of the German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Russian empires following World War I; of the British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Belgian, Italian, and Japanese colonial empires following World War II; and of the Soviet Union at the end of the Cold War.

Decolonization has been used to refer to the intellectual decolonization from the colonizers' ideas that made the colonized feel inferior. Issues of decolonization persist and are raised contemporarily. In Latin America and South Africa, such issues are increasingly discussed under the term decoloniality.

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