Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ambassador Rohan Perera delivering a statement on behalf of the President of the General Assembly.
In his capacity as Vice President of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ambassador Rohan Perera chaired a commemorative meeting of the General Assembly to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, held on March 26 in the General Assembly Hall of UN Headquarters in New York.
Delivering a statement on behalf of the President of the General Assembly, Ambassador Perera reflected on the legacy of slavery and underlined its lasting impact on present day social and economic inequalities. “Discrimination, racism and xenophobia continue to plague our world. People are still stripped of their humanity – exploited and abused for economic gain. Divisive and dehumanising rhetoric is on the rise. Minorities and the vulnerable are targeted as the cause of problems. We must look at these warning signs and take corrective and preventive action”, he stated.
These sentiments were echoed by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, who reiterated the importance of education and outreach, commending programmes such as the UN’s Remember Slavery Programme and UNESCO’s Slave Route Project. He acknowledged that the Transatlantic Slave Trade was the largest forced legal movement of people in history and asserted that the way to honour the lives of its victims would be to ensure that all people live in dignity.
The keynote address of the event was delivered by former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Panama, Graciela Dickson. As a young woman of African descent and the great granddaughter of a former slave growing up in Panama, Dickson emphasized that the descendants of slaves are the living testimony of the triumphs of their ancestors and the resilience of black African women.
Statements were also delivered by the Permanent Representatives of Qatar on behalf of Asia Pacific States, Gambia on behalf of African States, Belarus on behalf of the Eastern European States, Uruguay on behalf of Latin American and Caribbean States, Israel on behalf of Western European states, as well as the Permanent Representatives of the United States, Ghana, Equatorial Guinea, Cuba and Brazil. Representatives additionally commended the efforts by the UN in commemorating the victims of the transatlantic slave trade, including through the permanent memorial “The Ark of Return” set up by Haitian American architect Rodney Leon at the visitor’s plaza of the UN Headquarters in New York.The meeting was followed by a cultural and culinary experience at the United Nation’s Visitor’s Lobby, featuring fare from a number of member states, including a Sri Lanka Tea station.
Courtesy: Daily News