United Nations: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for fighting slavery’s legacy of racism through education, which he said is “the most powerful weapon.”
“It is incumbent on us to fight slavery’s legacy of racism,” Guterres told a UN General Assembly event marking the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
He said the evil enterprise of enslavement lasted for over 400 years, noting that the history of slavery is one of “suffering, crime, violence, and exploitation.”
“And yet, the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade haunts us to this day,” Guterres said. “We can draw a straight line from the era of colonial exploitation to the social and economic inequalities of today.”
He added that the scars of slavery are still visible in persistent disparities in wealth, income, health, education and opportunity.
“And we can recognize the racist tropes popularized to rationalize the inhumanity of the slave trade in the white supremacist hate that is resurgent today,” he said.
Calling education the most powerful weapon in the arsenal to fight slavery’s legacy of racism, the UN chief urged governments everywhere to introduce lessons into school curricula on the causes, manifestations and far-reaching consequences of the transatlantic slave trade.
“By teaching the history of slavery, we help to guard against humanity’s most vicious impulses. By studying the prevailing assumptions and beliefs that allowed the practice to flourish for centuries, we unmask the racism of our own time,” said Guterres.
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December 2007 to designate March 25 as an annual International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The day is observed with ceremonies and activities at the UN headquarters in New York and at UN offices around the world.