10 May 2012 – National Day for the abolition of Slave Trade and Slavery
France is the first country to have declared black slave trade and slavery as a “crime against humanity” and a national day for this commemoration. Amongst the numerous decrees and laws adopted in France to perpetuate the memory of slavery and prevent it from falling into oblivion and to honour the victims of this demeaning practice a law was voted on 21 May 2001, the major constituent of which recognizes slave trade and slavery as a crime against humanity. In 2010, Senegal adopted a similar law, inspired by French text.
The 10th of May has been declared, since 2006, a “national day of memory for slave trade, slavery and their abolition”. This year again in 2012, a large number of events have been scheduled to take place across France and its territories with an emphasis on remembrance by European populations. Last March, the first Memorial in France on abolition of slavery has been inaugurated.
Beyond these efforts, a committee set up as per the above-mentioned law has been tasked with coming up with proposals to the Government to instigate research aimed at promoting awareness of this painful subject and at spreading knowledge and information on the history of slave trade, slavery and their abolition to as wide a public as possible, particularly with school children in view. Indeed, for remembrance but also tribute to the victim, France wishes to encourage an in-depth civic reflection on the respect on human dignity and on crime against humanity.
More information relatives to the commemorations on the Committee for the Memory and History of Slavery website www.cpmhe.fr.