International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 2016

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 2016 theme is" Remember Slavery: Celebrating the Heritage and Culture of the African Diaspora and its Roots"


2015 theme is "Women and Slavery", 2014 theme is “Victory over Slavery: Haiti and Beyond”

2 December, The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, has been adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations convention for the prevention of the human trafficking and of the exploitation of the human being and of others.

Slave trade is perhaps the biggest human tragedy that affected the highest number of people for the longest span of time in History.

Today, it exists in the new forms of immense violations of the human rights proclaimed by United Nations in 1948 (forced labour, child labour, prostitution) in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Formation of International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

2004 was declared as “The International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition” by General Assembly of United Nations on 18 December 2002. Yet again the Assembly proclaimed March 25, 2007 as the International Day for the Commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on 28 November 2006.

The declaration proclamation of the year 2004 as International Year to commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition by the United Nations General Assembly marks, on the one hand, the 200th centenary of the declaration of the first black state, Haïti, manifestation of the struggle and resistance of slaves, and victory of the principles of equality, liberty, dignity and the rights of the persons, and, on the other hand, the fraternal integrity of the peoples of Africa , the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe.


Some kind of slavery has existed as time immemorial. Ruling peoples - often designated as barbarians - and persons detained and imprisoned for debt were treated as slaves by the Babylonians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans and the Persians.

The Middle Ages witnessed the arrival of the Nilotic, Saharian and Great Lakes network of Arab routes for the depleting of slaves from the heart of Africa.

The advent of the Americas by westerners represents the beginning of a black slave trade on a wide scale. The Portuguese and Spanish, who divided the new earth between them after 1493, aspired to capture these lands. However, the populations of some provinces, specifically the Greater Antilles, were destroyed by war. And the exploitation of American land and gold and silver mines would aspire for big numbers of strong and, if possible, cheap human labor. Las Casas, disturbed by the treatment meted out to the Indians, wanted to use Africans whom he considered of sterner stuff.

Over the preceding hundred years the English joined the bandwagon for the American colonies, followed by number of countries of Europe including France, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Colbert wanted to control slavery when he constituted the first Code Noir in 1685, thus transforming slavery official. Thus the slavery including the Indian and the black communities was of entirely of different natures.

In black slavery men, women and children were captured and sold. The various waves of slavery witnessed the deportation of approximately 25 to 30 million persons, excluding those who died on board ship or in wars and raids.

Projects Launched by UNESCO

Slave Route Project was launched by UNESCO in 1994. Its objective was to break the silence and stir a universal issue of the transatlantic slave trade and slavery, its reasons and results, by means of scientific methods.

An International Scientific Committee was established for this project to examine the whole issue of the slave trade and its influence on the prevailing economic and political scenario in a number of nations as well as to act as a medium of advocating trans-cultural dialogue. This committee emphasized the importance of related materials as the source for the study of the slave trade.

The Slave Trade Archives Project was floated in 1999 with the aim of accelerating access to, and protecting, original documents pertaining to the transatlantic slave trade and slavery around the world. As part of the UNESCO Memory of the World program and in co-operation with the International Council on Archives, a study was carried out to recognize national archives and related organizations in several Latin American, African, and Caribbean countries, with a mission to upgrading their amenities and services to ensure adequate protection of original records, to get copies in appropriate formats of records and other papers related to the slave trade and slavery. The 1st phase was limited to Atlantic Slave Trade.

This project emphasized on enhancing knowledge of subjugation of slave trade records. Digitization of these sources, particularly those inclined to deterioration, would help to establish a wide memory of this aspect of human history. A strategy of access is streamline, with a view to launching on-line access through the UNESCO web site and other committed sites, and through release of multimedia CD-ROMs on slave trade, including information on methods of resistance to slavery.

Presently the project is operating in eleven nations: Senegal, Benin, and Ghana in Africa, Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Gambia, Cape Verde, Barbados and Haiti in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Let’s join hands together to consolidate this noble cause of UNESCO in whatsoever way we could and contribute our part of efforts towards this cause to make this planet a better place to live in without any discrimination of race, gender, caste and creed.

International Days