Aug 23, 2012

Haratin: Statement Released on UNESCO Day of Remembrance

Speaking from Nouakchott on 23 August 2012, President of SOS-Esclaves Boubacar Messaoud and Vice-President of IRA–Mauritanie Brahim Bilal Ebeid issued a joint statement to mark the UNESCO International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

Below is a joint statement released by SOS – Esclaves and IRA – Mauritanie:

Initially launched by the UNESCO, the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition is observed annually on August 23.

Indeed, it was during the night of the 22nd to the 23rd August 1791 that the uprising that was to play a decisive role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade started in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic).

The observance of this international day aims at framing the tragedy of the Slave Trade within the memory of all peoples. It should be of particular importance in Mauritania since slavery is still alive and well in this country, as tragically exemplified by the numerous cases brought to light for years by Human Rights organizations.

The UNESCO Director-General has officially invited the Ministries of Culture from all the member States to organize ceremonies of remembrance. The Mauritanian authorities as a whole and more particularly the Ministry of Culture kept completely silent about this major date – further proof of their continuing shameful attitude of denial of slavery.

In the light of such contempt displayed by the Mauritanian authorities towards all the victims that carry in their flesh and souls the indelible marks of the torments of centuries of slavery in Mauritania, SOS – Esclaves and IRA – Mauritanie:

-       Lament the attitude of the Mauritanian authorities who overlook such an important remembrance date dedicated to the victims of slavery,

-       Recall that the Mauritanian authorities, instead of commemorating the victims of slavery, strive to sabotage the actions led by antislavery activists and try to silence them by any possible means,

-       Proclaim their unflagging solidarity with the victims of slavery, racism, and all the forms of oppression throughout the world.

-        Demand the immediate liberation of Biram Dah Abeid and of other detained abolitionists victims of arbitrary arrests,

-       Call the Mauritanian Human Rights organizations to mobilize and stand firm against racism and slavery in Mauritania, and finally,

-       Repeat their commitment to spare no effort and no sacrifice to completely eradicate slavery in Mauritania.