Saturday 23 August marks the UN ninth annual International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
The UNESCO Director-General Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, in a message on the occasion of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition makes an appeal “for universal remembrance of the tragic events of the past and to renew their efforts to end all forms of oppression in order to build more tolerant and just societies for the present and future generations”. In 1988 the UNESCO Executive Board adopted resolution 29 C/40 inviting all Member States to organize events to mark 23 August each year to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade and to give people a chance to think about the historic causes, the methods and the consequences of slave trade.
Despite the 1926 Slavery Convention of the League of Nations and its 1955 Supplementary Convention by the United Nations and also article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights "No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms", modern forms of slavery still exist. Human trafficking, bonded labor, forced child labor, forced prostitution, abuse of domestic workers are ways to exploit human beings. Many states are still reluctant to apologize for their role in the slave trade or slavery. Claims for reparations for the descendants of people held in slavery are the subject of debate in national courts.