Top UN official calls for greater effort to end contemporary forms of

“While we should never forget the atrocities committed in the past, we should be equally vigilant in seeking to abolish the contemporary forms of slavery that affect millions of men, women and children around the world,” said UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.He noted that despite a tremendous international effort to combat the exploitation of human beings as well as the growing awareness of forced labour and the sale and prostitution of children, flagrant violations of human rights continue. The Day commemorates the uprising on 23 August 1791, when slaves of Santo Domingo in the Caribbean launched an insurrection which ultimately led to the Haitian revolution and promoted the cause of human rights.This year’s International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition coincides with the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade by the United States of America in 1808. Also, the freedom from slavery and servitude as a fundamental human right was recognized in Article 4 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. “Let us therefore remember the millions of men, women and children who were subjected to this most invidious denial of human rights, and those who fought tirelessly to end that tyranny,” declared Mr. Matsuura. 23 August 2008Marking the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) chief today appealed to Member States to renew efforts to end all forms of oppression. read more

UN humanitarian adviser begins threeweek tour in Central African Republic

Ramiro Lopes da Silva, Special Humanitarian Adviser for CAR in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), will hold talks in the capital, Bangui, with national authorities and staff from humanitarian agencies.UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said today that Mr. da Silva’s visit is the first high-level UN humanitarian mission since March 2003, when CAR leader Francois Bozizé seized power after a six-month rebellion.Mr. da Silva will also inspect the areas most affected by the rebellion. Based on his mission, he is expected to make recommendations about what can be done immediately to help the people of CAR.OCHA has estimated that 20,000 people are internally displaced because of the political-military dispute, and another 42,000 refugees fled to neighbouring Chad to the north, although many have returned.Mr. Eckhard said only $700,000 has been collected so far for CAR in the most recent UN Consolidated Appeal – a small fraction of the target amount of $17 million. read more