Mr. Mohammad Erfani Ayoob
Chargé d’Affaires of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the United Nations
Chair of the Asian Group for the Month of March 2010
On behalf of the Asian Group
at the General Assembly commemorative plenary
on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my honor to speak today on behalf of the Asian Group as we gather here today in honor of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
The transatlantic slave trade persisted for four centuries. This is longer than most of our nations have existed. It forever changed the landscape of the world: those who were ripped from their homes and transplanted thousands of miles away, over the course of generations; but also those who bear the legacy of those centuries today, in the Americas, in Africa and in Europe.
It is therefore both fitting and just that we dedicate ourselves this year and every year to improving awareness not just of the manifold tragedies of the slave trade, but also of the breadth and magnificence of human strength in the face of terrible adversity. The struggles of these hundreds and thousands of brave men and women are at the very heart of this organization, an Organization dedicated to the principles of peace, sovereignty, and the fundamental equality between all men and women.
In this regard, I have the honor to thank His Excellency the Secretary-General, UNESCO and the UN Secretariat for their efforts to educate and spread awareness of the causes and consequences of the transatlantic slave trade and the need to address the racism and inequality that still exist today as a result. It is our hope that this Organization can lead the world in memorializing the suffering, but also courage, of those who bravely dedicated their lives to restoring the dignity of humanity and guaranteeing equality among all.
Though thankfully the transatlantic trade in humans has ended, injustice, racism, and exploitation remain real and terrible problems all over the world. We should intensify our efforts to address discrimination, racism and social marginalization in line with the Durban Declaration. Let us find inspiration in the strength of our ancestors to fearlessly confront these modern-day tragedies with the same courage and dedication, to ensure that tomorrow’s generations will face a world that truly embodies the ideals enshrined in this Organization.
I thank you, Mr. President.