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Permanent Memorial for slavery: The Ark of Return

Updated: Nov 30, 2018

Around March 25th, every year, the UN assembles to mark this day, established by the General Assembly resolution 62/122 in 200 7 to honor the memory of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humanity in terms of scale and duration, and to raise awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

A Steering Committee with membership drawn from member states from the Caricom Group and the African Union, UNESCO and to the UN Department of Public Information was established to plan activities and events for the Remember Slavery Program

On March 25th, 2015, the United Nations unveiled a permanent memorial, located on the United Nations Visitors Plaza in New York.The Ark of Return, created by a Haitian-American architect Rodney Leon, sits as reminder of the legacy of the slave trade and the importance of recognizing the contribution of the people of African Descent.

The Transatlantic Slave Trade lasted for four centuries. 400 years of crimes against humanity. The commodity being traded was people. During this long and dark period in human history, there was also great resistance.

The photographs show the external and internal features of the Ark of Return that illustrate how the slaves were transported, in a vertical position, on top of one another.  The size of the Ark of Return enables visitors to walk through from one end to another and to experience, and acknowledge the passage of slaves in the triangular slave trade route. The photos also show the two plaques, permanently embedded on the white marble of the Ark of Return, mentioning all those who contributed to the construction of the Permanent Memorial and the Resolution 62/122 of 2007 establishing the Permanent Memorial Committee, drawing membership from all regions and being led by the efforts of “Caricom Countries and with African Union playing a primary role.”

- Mrs. Mirriam Omala-Gauvin, Adviser,

AU Representative to the Permanent Memorial Committee for 2007-2015

& AU Representative to the UN Steering Committee on TST

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