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22.07.2004 General News

Detailed story of Slave Trade vital- Minister

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Accra, July 22, GNA - Mr Abubakar Saddique Boniface, Deputy Minister of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City, on Thursday said Ghana must rise up to the challenge to get the full story of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade told to make it an asset that would be developed and jealously guarded.

He said Ghana would, therefore, co-operate with UNESCO to ensure the National Slave Route Project Committee was well resourced to work towards that objective.

"The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade has a lot of significance for us as a people. The presence in Ghana of the many Castles dotted all over our shores from the west to the east act as a constant reminder to us, of this dark period in the history of mankind and at the same time, bequeaths to us the responsibility of ensuring that the world never forgets what transpired between the 16th and 20th centuries".

Mr Boniface was speaking at the launching of the International Conference on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to be held from August 30 to September 2, on the theme: "The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Landmarks, Legacies and Expectations".

The conference is to be attended by academicians from all over the world including some Ghanaian academic luminaries, who would present research papers on slavery for further discussions and comment, which would be developed into a book to serve as a reference.

Participating countries would include Benin, Nigeria, Liberia, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Ghana, who would mount exhibitions on slavery as occurred in their countries.

Other participating countries would be France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States of America and Germany.

The international conference, which follows a national one held in November, last year, would provide a platform for exchange of research results, programmes and development of partnerships between academic research and museums and monument institutions.

The Deputy Minister urged all Ghanaians to take interest and fully participate in the up-coming conference to be abreast with issues of slavery that led to the forcible and physical transportation of "our kith and kin to the New World to work as chattel slaves.

Mr James Roberts Anquandah, Member of the National Slave Route Project Committee, said the ultimate aim of the project was essentially to improve human rights and the development of Africans and people of African descent.

He said there was, therefore, the need to disseminate the results of findings through publications, seminars, and teaching programmes in schools, colleges, the Media and the general public.

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