International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition [23rd August]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Jul 28, 2022, 22:10

UNESCO has marked 23rd August every year as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition to memorialize the tragedy and the victims of the slave trade. The day also encourages critical debates about exploitation practices such as slavery and racism.

International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was the day to which understood the beginning of the revolt that would play a vital role in the abolishment of the segment of the global slave trade that transported enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas, referred to as transatlantic slave trade.

What is the Meaning of International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition?

This day marks the tragedy that occurred while trading the slave people. The main aim was to nullify human exploitation and to acknowledge the equal and unquestioning dignity of everyone.

"Ending Slavery's Legacy of Racism: A Global Imperative for Justice" was the theme of International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition for 2021 by the United Nations.

History of International Day of Abolition of Slavery

On 22-23 August 1791, an uprising occurred in Santo Domingo, modern-day Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

  • The revolt was against the transatlantic slave trade that transported people from Africa to work in inhuman conditions in colonial settlements in Haiti, the Caribbean, and other parts of the world.
  • The fight of 22-23 August 1791 inspired the Haitian Revolution against the colonial empires of Western Europe.
  • International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition also significantly eliminated the transatlantic slave trade.
  • To remember the tragedy of the slave trade and initiate a critical dialogue about exploitation and slavery, the United Nations (UN) Executive Board adopted Resolution 29 C/40 at its 29th session to commemorate 23 August as the International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition.

International Day for Abolition of Slavery - Significance

UNESCO launched the International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition to break the silence and revive the memory of slavery and the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade in people's minds.

As such, the day is marked to -

  • Honour and memorialize the victims of the systemic racist slave trade.
  • Critically investigate the past and modern practices of racial injustice, exploitation, and slavery.
  • Collectively analyze the historical causes, outcomes, and methods of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade.
  • Fight racism and eliminate racist social structures.
  • To remember those who fought to abolish the slave trade and slavery worldwide.

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Timeline & Facts - International Day For The Abolition Of Slavery

  • In 1994, UNESCO launched the Slave Route Project to educate the general public about concepts of race, exploitation systems, decolonizing, deracializing, etc.
  • On 29th July 1998, through the Circular CL/3494, the Director-General to Ministers of Culture invited all the UN Member States to organize events and mark 23rd August each year to commemorate the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade.
  • On 23rd August 1998, the International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in Haiti, among other countries worldwide.
  • On 23rd August 1999, The International Day of Abolition of Slavery was celebrated in Goree in Senegal.
  • In 2001, the Mulhouse Textile Museum in France participated in the commemoration through a workshop for fabrics called Indiennes de Traite - a cotton fabric used as an exchange currency for the slaves in the 17th and 18th centuries.

☛ Also Read: Current Affairs Today

The traumatic stress of slavery and exploitation has had a psychological and social impact on several generations of enslaved communities. Through the Slave Route Project, UNESCO heals impacted individuals and fights against racism and all forms of discrimination that are still alive.

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FAQs on International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

Q1. When is the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition?

23rd August is globally observed as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition and honours the victims of the slave trade. King George III signed into Abolition act of the Slave Trade, which banned the trading of slave people.

Q2. Why was the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition launched?

UNESCO launched International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition to mark the tragedy of the slave trade and infuse it in the memory of all people globally.

Q3. What does the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition commemorate?

The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition commemorates the uprising against colonial empires on the night of August 22-23, 1791, in Santo Domingo. Slavery played an essential part in the growth of the world's current economy.

Q4. Who announced the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition?

Through the Circular CL/3494, UNESCO's Director-General to Ministers of Culture invited all the UN Member States to mark 23rd August as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition to commemorate the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade.

Q5. What is the purpose of the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition?

The purpose of International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is to end slavery and all forms of discrimination globally. The day carves the horrific condition of the slaves in the minds of the citizens.

Q6. What is the Slave Trade Meaning In Hindi?

दास - व्यवसाय is the slaves meaning in Hindi. The trading of slaves involves the getting, transporting, and selling of human beings, particularly the one-time trade in black Africans as slaves by European countries and North America.

Q7. What is Abolition Meaning?

The term Abolition was introduced to end Slave Trade. It is defined as the ending of slavery. One example of Abolition is the passing of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1865, which declared making another person a sale a criminal offence.