In memory of the victims of slavery: inauguration of a memorial in Guadalupe
On the occasion of the commemorative day for the abolition of slavery in France, on the 10th of May, President François Hollande unveiled the ACTe memorial (Caribean Center for Expression and memory of Slave trade) in Guadalupe.
Accompanied to Pointe à Pitre by Ségolène Royale, Minister of ecology, sustainable development and energy, Christiane Taubira, minister of justice, and Fleur Pellerin, minister of culture and communication, François Hollande has last Sunday unveiled the biggest slavery memorial in the world.
Slavery, an issue of yesterday and today
Located on an old sugarcane factory site where forced labour was still practiced during the 19th century, the memorial is not only about the slave trade between the Caribbean and Antilles, but it also deals with the question of slavery in its entirety, from antiquity to today. Moreover, having a small collection of objects, the exposition mostly relies on photography, archives, multimedia documents or evocation of scenes in order to sensitize the visitors about the harmful effects of slavery. Thus, thirty rooms, chronologically organized, enable us to remember that between 12 and 13 million Africans have been deported by Portugal, Holland, England, Spain, and France, in exchange of goods. The scenography also deals with the consequences of slavery.
In its inauguration speech, François Hollande sought to recall that slavery is not only a story of the past, giving the example the recent abductions by the Islamic sect Boko Haram in Africa, or the smugglers of people between the African and European coasts.
Fight against racial discriminations: the UN makes it a priority for the next ten years
On the 10th of December 2014, Hon. Sam Kutesa, president of the 69th UN general assembly and Ugandan minister of foreign affairs, launched the “International decade for the people of African descent”. In an interview, with the Ugandan weekly magazine The Independent, the latter underlined the importance of the duty of remembrance: “because the consequences of discrimination and marginalisation that resulted from slavery are still rampant in the world”.
Despite the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations of the Convention on the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others on the 2nd of December 1949, human trade is still going on.
According to the Ugandan minister, Sam Kutesa, the decade for the fight against discriminations and racism is essential in the fight for equality between men and women, but the major tool which will lead to this equality is education. Educating people about their rights will lead to a reduction or even, in the long term, eradication of slave trade and racial discrimination.