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  • 11/29/2003

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

2 December 2003


The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is held on December 2nd to mark the anniversary of the adoption in 1949 of the UN Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of Others.

Observing the Day in 2001, UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, commented:
Slavery was, in a very real sense, the first international human rights issue to come to the fore. It led to the adoption of the first human rights laws and to the creation of the first human rights non-governmental organization. And yet despite the efforts of the international community to combat this abhorrent practice, it is still widely prevalent in all its insidious forms, old and new. The list is painfully long and includes traditional chattel slavery; bonded labour; serfdom; and forced labour, including of children, women and migrants, and often for the purpose of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude and ritualistic and religious reasons....

Human beings are not property. On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, let us reaffirm the inherent dignity of all men, women and children. And let us redouble our efforts so that the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -– “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude” -– ring true.

Anti-Slavery International (ASI) is actively working today for the freedom of millions of people worldwide trapped in slavery or slavery-like practices.

Key thought for reflection:

Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4: No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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