Monday, March 26, 2007
GHANA COMMEMORATES 200 YEARS ABOLITION OF SLAVE TRADE
From: Samuel Amoako & David Yarboi-Tetteh, Elmina
President J. A Kufuor says although it is regrettable that Africans, who were victims of the Slave Trade, also participated in it, the way forward now is to show remorse and accord those who suffered enslavement and their successors their full human rights.
He said with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the African Union seeking a reconnection with Africans in the diaspora, it is important for Europe and Africa to also make commensurate gestures.
The President said this when he addressed a solemn ceremony yesterday at the Elmina Castle in the Central Region to commemorate 200 years of the slave trade.
Dubbed “Reflections – reflecting the past, creating future”, it was organized by the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat and the British Council of Ghana and tells the story of a journey through time as told by artists from Africa, the United Kingdom and Carribeans from their own perspectives in a shared creative environment.
The President said the celebration cannot be wholesome altogether since the basic problem of slavery, of which the slave trade was only a symptom, continue to be prevalent all over the world and called for proper redress of the real causes of the problem.
In that regard, he said the UN Declaration on Human Rights provides the blueprint by which the whole human society should agree to live and which emphasizes the centrality of the individual human being in all political, social cultural arrangements.
The Declaration states, among other things, that (“no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited on all their forms and also that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”).
President Kufuor said commitment to, and upholding of the declaration were the strongest weapons against slavery and slave trade.
In her address, Rt. Hon. Baroness Valery Amos, leader of British House of Lords, noted the slave trade was responsible for most of the atrocities meted against humanity in the world’s history.
She said it was against that background that British Prime Minister, Tiny Blair, had expressed his sorrow about British’s role in the sad trade.
Baroness Amos paid tribute to all those who fought against slave trade and urged the world not to let it happen again.
“This celebration should mark our renewed commitment to ensure that this does not happen again,” she said.
The Director General of the British Council, Sir David Green; said Africans should see the abolition of the slave trade as an achievement and urged them to look onto the future with hope.
He described as unfortunate the fact that over 20 million people, mostly women and children, are still in slavery despite the abolition of the trade 200 years ago.
The chief of Elmina, Nana Kojo Conduah V1 appealed to Africans and African-Americans to forget about the effects of the slave trade and contribute towards the development of the continent.
Ghanaian Times - Monday, March 26, 2007 Page: 1 & 7