On March 25th, the International Relations Faculty of the Belarusian State University hosted a number of commemorative events involving students of the Faculty and other higher educational establishments of Minsk in observance of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
A poster exhibit “Remember Slavery: Say it Loud” opened in the University hall. Participating in the ceremony were Victor Shadurski, the Dean of the International Relations Faculty, and Victor Radivinovski, representative of the UN Department of Global Communications in Belarus.
Public Information Assistant of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Olga Borzenkova informed the students about modern forms of slavery and IOM activities aimed at facilitating orderly migration and combatting trafficking in human beings.
In his remarks, Victor Radivinovski reminded the audience that over a period of more than 400 years 15 to 20 million black men, women, and children were forcibly deported to the North and South America and the Caribbean and many of them died during their transport or were later killed by back-breaking labour. Radivinovski prompted the students to note that as early as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it was expressed that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” (Article 1), “everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” (Article 3), and Article 4 explicitly acknowledges that “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”
“Recollecting slavery and transatlantic slave trade as historical facts we should remember that unfortunately, slavery has not disappeared yet. It has changed and become invisible but not less dangerous. There are modern slave traders and slavery victims. Throughout its entire existence, the United Nations Organization raises alarm and adopts legally binding documents responding to new challenges,” - said the representative of the UN Department of Global Communications in Belarus.
As part of the event, a screening of the documentary film “Slavery Routes” covering the history of transatlantic slave trade was conducted. The participants received the materials prepared by the Department of Global Communications and the International Organization for Migration as part of the information campaign IOM X on combatting trafficking in persons.
On the same day, the #NoSlavery quiz dedicated to the memory of victims of slavery and transatlantic slave trade and modern forms of slavery was conducted in the University. The winners of the quiz and a themed flash Instagram photo contest were rewarded with souvenirs and certificates of acknowledgement of the United Nations Organization.
The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in its Resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007.
The Resolution urges to establish “a programme of educational outreach to mobilize, inter alia, educational institutions and civil society on the subject of remembering the transatlantic slave trade and slavery, in order to inculcate future generations with the causes, consequences and lessons of the transatlantic slave trade and to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice.”