Islamabad: Speaking at a Goodwill Ambassadors ceremony to honour the memory of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade at the UN Headquarter on Tuesday, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, Ambassador, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, said that slavery might have legally ended but its legacy remains in one form or another, including economic exploitation. “Initially, in the original phase, it was a physical slavery, today it is economic slavery and it still continues”, he said, says a press release received here today from New York.
He said Pakistan is proud to be part of the UN campaign to recognize and commemorate the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade. More important was to remember and teach our present and future generations to stop this from happening again, he said.
The Ambassador said the Permanent Memorial would not only serve as a reminder of the legacy of the slave trade but would provide future generations an understanding of the history and on the consequences of slavery and serves as an educational tool to raise awareness about the dangers of racism, prejudice and the lingering consequences that continue to impact the descendants of the victims today..
Ambassador Haroon said that in Pakistan, the city of Karachi has about 200,000 people of African origin. He said he is involved in the process to ensure that Pakistan would not only be the contributor but would actively work for the memorial for the millions who were forcibly removed from Africa.
Pakistan, which had co-sponsored the General Assembly resolution on the subject, today contributed an additional US$20,000 which makes its total contribution to US $ 25,000. This speaks of Pakistan’s firm commitment and solidarity to this important subject.
In an effort to acknowledge the tragedy of slavery, racial prejudice and the lingering consequences of the centuries-long enslavement and trade in Africans supplied to the colonies of the Americas and beyond, the General Assembly, adopted resolution A/RES/62/122 in 17 December 2007 entitled: Permanent Memorial to and Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. This was the second of five successive resolutions adopted by the General Assembly on the issue.
The resolution called for the establishment of an outreach programme to mobilize educational institutions, civil society and other organizations to inculcate in future generations the “causes, consequences and lessons of the transatlantic slave trade, and to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice”.
Against that background, this year’s commemoration is being observed under the theme “The Transatlantic slave trade: The living legacy of 30 million untold stories”.
Commemorative events reflecting the theme are designed to seek answers to the key questions: Who were these people? What are their stories? What did they contribute to the societies of their enslavement? What are their legacies and what lessons has the modern world learned from that dark phase of human history?
Today’s Ceremony was arranged to honour the appointment of Melba Moore and members of the reggae group “Morgan Heritage” as Goodwill Ambassadors to promote the cause . The event was organized by the Permanent Mission of Jamaica, on behalf of Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the Department for Public Information (DPI)
The transatlantic slave trade, the largest long-distance forced movement of innocent people in history uprooted 25 to 30 million Africans according to UNESCO estimates, who were shackled, dragged off to the Americas and the Caribbean and forced to endure unspeakable misery, as did their descendants for hundreds of years.
Although the 400-year transatlantic slave trade is a major element of global history, little is known about some aspects of that practice its lasting consequences throughout the world. What is known is that from the late fifteenth century, the Atlantic Ocean, once a daunting barrier that prevented regular interaction between those peoples living within the four continents it touched, became a commercial passage that integrated the histories of Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean for the first time. Slavery and the transatlantic slave trade were the linchpins of this process, which turned the ocean floor into a burial ground for the millions who did not survive the dreadful passage.
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