Mr. President, the United States Delegation is pleased to speak again this year on the “Follow-up to the commemoration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade” (agenda item 116). Our Delegation is also pleased to co-sponsor this year’s draft resolution “Permanent memorial to and remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.” We look forward to its adoption by consensus.
We must never forget the terrible human tragedy of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, and the moral courage of those who worked to end it. We must also recognize that our efforts to abolish slavery are by no means finished. The commemoration and the resolution draw much needed attention to the plight of men and women who even today are denied the right to freedom and the fruits of their labor.
The United States remains determined to combat racism and undo the legacy of slavery in our own country. The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln on January 1, 1863 marked the formal beginning of the end of slavery in the United States. When the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1865, it further advanced the United States’ efforts to end slavery. But the legacy of the terrible institution of slavery still casts a long shadow, and we must continue our efforts to eliminate racial discrimination and fulfill our nation’s founding promise for all its citizens.
Mr. President, the descendants of African slaves have made tremendous and lasting contributions to our country in all fields and walks of life. The United States remains committed to educating our youth about the slave trade; and to honoring both the victims and those who sought to end this horrible practice.
Thank you, Mr. President.
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