23 February 2015

U.N. to unveil Permanent Memorial to Victims of SlaveTrade

frontal view of the Memorial | Rodney Leon Architects PLLC

Monument to victims of slavery to open at UN Headquarters 
in March


Rodney Leon (second left), winner of the design competition, ‘The Ark of Return’, to be erected as a permanent memorial to the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, explains his concept to (from left), prime minister of Jamaica Portia Simpson Miller; former prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer and Jamaica's permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Courtenay Rattray, at the unveiling at the UN. JIS File Photo

By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) -- The permanent memorial to the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade is to be erected in March on the grounds of the United Nations headquarters in New York.

Jamaica’s minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator A.J. Nicholson, who made the disclosure on Tuesday, said the UN initiative to erect the monument, entitled ‘The Ark of No-Return’, was Jamaican-inspired and CARICOM and African Union endorsed.

He was addressing members of the diplomatic corps at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters in Kingston, as part of Diplomatic Week 2015 activities.

“I express profound gratitude to those countries, which have contributed to the fund-raising efforts and encourage those who have not yet done so to use the window, which remains open, to meet the amount required for its completion,” he said.

The monument, designed by Haitian-American, Rodney Leon, will be triangular in shape and made from gleaming white marble panels supported by a stainless steel structural frame.

It was selected from an initial 310 entries by an international panel of five judges. The trust fund established to build the Permanent Memorial has to date raised US$1.4 million.

Meanwhile, Nicholson informed that the International Decade for People of African Descent will run from January 1, 2015, to December 31, 2024.

The decade aims to underline the important contribution made by people of African descent to the wider society and to propose concrete measures to promote their full inclusion and to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance.