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On Day of Remembrance, UN says triumph over slavery should guide efforts to build culture of tolerance

India Blooms News Service | | 23 Aug 2014, 10:05 pm
New Delhi, Aug 23 (IBNS) Marking the anniversary of the first successful slave uprising in the Western hemisphere, the head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said on Saturdaythat the struggle to overcome slavery "has strengthened awareness of the equality of all men and women, which we have all inherited directly."

“The history of the slave trade tells not only of the suffering endured but also of the ultimately victorious struggle for freedom and human rights, symbolized by the slave uprising in Saint-Domingue on the night of 22 to 23 August 1791,” said UNESCO's Director-General, Irina Bokova, in a message to mark the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

This year's Day commemorates year of the 210th anniversary of Haiti's independence and the 20th anniversary of UNESCO's educational and cultural programme, the Slave Route Project, a pioneering project that has helped to accelerate research and raise awareness of the history of slavery and its consequences.

UNESCO's educational and cultural programmes and support for historical research are intended to highlight the wealth of the traditions that African peoples have forged in the face of adversity – in art, music, dance and culture in its broader sense, creating indissoluble ties between peoples and continents and irreversibly transforming the face of society.

This heritage is invaluable for living in peace in our globalized world on the eve of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024),” said  Bokova, adding that transmission of this history is an essential condition for any lasting peace based on mutual understanding among peoples and full awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice.

“It also helps us to continue mobilizing against modern forms of slavery and trafficking in human beings that still affect more than 20 million people worldwide,” she said.

Bokova noted that UNESCO is contributing actively towards the design of a Permanent Memorial to and Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, to be established at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

“I call on all Member States and partners of UNESCO, in schools, universities, the media, museums and places of memory, to mark this International Day and redouble their efforts to ensure that the role played by slaves in winning recognition of universal human rights is better known and taught more widely,” she said.

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm