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International Day of Remembrance of Slavery Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The United Nations' (UN) International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is on March 25 each year. It honors the lives of those who died as a result of slavery or experienced the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. It is also an occasion to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice.

Broken Chain

The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade remembers the lives of transatlantic slave trade victims.

©iStockphoto.com/Perttu Sironen

What Do People Do?

Various events are held on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. These include memorial services and vigils for those who died in slavery, as a result of the slave trade, or from campaigning to end of slavery. In addition, African-American inspired music is performed and exhibitions of art and poetry inspired during the slave trade era are opened.

This day is also an occasion to educate the public, especially young people, about the effects of racism, slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. Educational events are held in schools, colleges and universities.

Public Life

The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

About 17 million people were transported against their will from Africa to North, Central and South America during the 16th century and up until the 19th century. Millions more died while being transported to the Americas. This mass deportation and resulting slavery are seen as one of the worst violations of human rights. Some experts believe that its effects are still felt in Africa's economies.

Slavery was officially abolished in the United States on February 1, 1865. However, racial segregation continued throughout most of the following century and racism remains an important issue today. Hence, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is an occasion to discuss the transatlantic slave trade's causes, consequences and lessons. It is hoped that this will raise awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice.

On December 17, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 25 as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. It was first observed in 2008.

Themes

The theme in 2008 was “Breaking the Silence, Lest We Forget”.

Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave Trade Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2010ThuMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2011FriMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2012SunMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2013MonMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2014TueMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2015WedMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2016FriMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2017SatMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2018SunMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2019MonMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance
2020WedMar 25Day to Remember Slavery Victims and Transatlantic Slave TradeUnited Nations observance

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