The United Nations’ International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is observed every year on August 23 to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade, the largest deportation in history.
The International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition was first celebrated in many countries, in particular in Haiti, on August 23, 1998, and in Senegal on August 23, 1999.
The day is commemorated to pay tribute to all those who fought for freedom and worked hard to abolish the slave trade and slavery throughout the world. This commitment and the actions used to fight against the system of slavery had an impact on the human rights movement.
To honour the history of the slave trade and its abolition, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 2017, added to its World Heritage List the Mbanza Kongo, Vestiges of the Capital of the former Kingdom of Kongo (Angola) and the Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site (Brazil), as an acknowledgement of their “outstanding universal value.”
UNESCO also started an initiative in 1994 known as the ‘Slave Route’ project to contribute to a better understanding of the causes, forms of operation, issues, and consequences of slavery in the world.
The night of August 22-23, 1791, in Saint-Domingue, in what is Haiti and the Dominican Republic today, saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
Men and women sold into slavery, revolted against the slave system to obtain freedom and independence for Haiti. The rebellion weakened the Caribbean colonial system, sparking an uprising that led to abolishing slavery and giving the island its independence.
It marked the beginning of the destruction of the slavery system, the slave trade, and colonialism. The large and well-organized uprising, better known as the Haitian Revolution, lasted 13 years and ended with the independent nation of Haiti.
In 1888, nearly 85 years later, Brazil became the last nation in America to abolish slavery.
The success of the rebellion, led by the slaves is a deep source of inspiration today for the fight against all forms of servitude, racism, prejudice, racial discrimination and social injustice that are a legacy of slavery.