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International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Transatlantic Slave Trade

 

International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery and Transatlantic SlaveTrade
Remember Slavery
 
Every year on the 25th of March, the world honours and remembers the victims of slavery and especially those victims of the transatlantic slave trade.
In previous years, themes centred on “Remembrance”, “Celebrating Emancipation”, “Culture” and more. In 2015, the theme will be “Women and Slavery” with tribute being paid to both the enslaved women who endured forced labour and exploitation, and the women who subsequently overcame slavery and abuse, to become leaders in the modern world.
This year is particularly special as a Permanent Memorial in honour of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade will be unveiled at the United Nations Visitor Plaza in New York, as a reminder to the world to remember and reflect upon the legacy of the slave trade and to fight against racism and prejudice as they occur in modern times.
The permanent Memorial is entitled “Ark of Return: Lest We Forget” created by Mr. Rodney Leon, an American of Haitian descent who explained his design as follows: “The Ark of Return is a symbolic spiritual space and object where one can interact and pass through for acknowledgement, contemplation, meditation, reflection, healing, education and transformation.’’
In 2013, at the announcement of the winning design, Ms. Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General stated “The slave trade is not merely a thing of the past – it has shaped the world we live in, it has moulded the face of modern societies, creating indissoluble ties between people, irreversibly transforming economies, cultures and customs across the world. The slave trade concerns not only people of African descent but the whole of humanity.”
The permanent Memorial is intended to be a reminder to future generations of the importance of remembering and learning from the past. It will help us appreciate the importance of understanding history and the consequences of slavery. In addition, it will act as an educational resource, raising awareness about the dangers of racism, prejudice and their impact on society.
During the week commencing 23rd March, 2015, a series of events are taking place worldwide, to include cultural events at the United Nations General Assembly Building.
For more information, please see: www.un.org/slaveryremembranceday/2015
To watch the unveiling ceremony of The Ark of Return, please log onto: UN WEB TV

 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Two Little Girls Campaign at the Nano Nagle Centre in Slovakia

 

Two Little Girls at the Nano Nagle Centre_1
Two Little Girls at the Nano Nagle Centre_1

Second week of March, the Team of Caritas Slovakia travelled with the Two Little Girls Campaign to the east of Slovakia, the region with the highest occurrence of human trafficking cases. They held a workshop in Spišské Podhradie in the Nano Nagle Centre, a place for Romani women, children and youth from families of difficult situations. The centre is run by the Presentation Sisters. Two short films were screened to introduce the topic of modern slavery. The films were followed by questions to make sure children had understood the main idea. They also asked a lot of questions that leaded to mutual discussion. Caritas Team brought them the most important information about risks and dangers of trafficking in an accessible way. Then the children were divided into two groups and asked to list the right and wrong signs of a relationship between boy and girl. After that two of the children were encouraged to perform a role play where one of them tried to lure the other one into a dream job abroad. At the end of the workshop they took a photo together to show their commitment to fighting human trafficking.
Two Little Girls at the Nano Nagle Centre_2
Two Little Girls at the Nano Nagle Centre_2

Two Little Girls at the Nano Nagle Centre_3
Two Little Girls at the Nano Nagle Centre_3

Report from RENATE Working Board Meeting in Albania

 

RENATE Working Board meeting in Durrës, Albania
9-16 March, 2015
RENATE Working Board Meeting in Albania, 9-16 March 2015
The reassuring words of Matthew 18:21 ‘’For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst,’’ set the tone for the yearly general meeting of the RENATE Working Board in Albania.
Because the Working Board gathers formally once a year, the meeting is of great importance not only as a time when Board members make time to get together, share knowledge and best practise concerning human trafficking and exploitation, but equally as a time of discernment for when Board members and staff reflect upon much that has been achieved over the last year, and to plan for all that is yet to be done in order to fulfil the mission, vision, goals and objectives of RENATE.
With 18 European countries represented around the table, the excellent facilitation provided by Patricia Mulhall, CSB, was essential to the 28 participant’s full participation and to ensuring a productive week together.
The work of the week included consideration of the following:

  • The RENATE Annual Report, 2014.
  • The audited accounts for RENATE, for the period 1st October 2013 to 30th September, 2014.
  • Discernment processes, with a view to informing future priorities.
  • Capacity building, with the specific intention of increasing membership from Eastern Europe.
  • How best to deploy existing resources, i.e. development of the WEB.
  • Communications, with an appeal to all members to engage, respond and be more proactive in communicating their local stories and initiatives.
  • RENATE Corporate Campaign, where the Board identified significant dates in the calendar for RENATE to make, e.g. International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking; St. Bakhita Day,  8th February and European Human Trafficking Day, 18th October.
  • Mapping Exercise, update and likely composition of the final report.
  • Support available through grant-aid from RENATE e.g. to assist local projects; improve English-language skills.
  • Katholikentag 2016 in Leipzig, Germany, where RENATE will take a stand to promote its work, as well as awareness raising.
  • Future trainings e.g. Madrid, Spain 31st May- 5th June, 2015; Dublin, Ireland 25th-31st October, 2015.

Delegates appreciated the thorough insight into the local situation in Albania, as conveyed by guest speakers Ep. George Frendo OP; Fr. Giovanni Peragine; Mrs. Edlira Gjoni; Mrs. Elona Gjebrea and Mrs. Marjana Meshi. Each of whom shared aspects of the following specific to their own individual responsibilities:

  • The rich Religions and Faith Traditions of Albania.
  • An overview of the Conference of Religious in Albania.
  • The cultural reality of Albania.
  • An overview of the human trafficking situation in Albania and Government policies to try to combat this.
  • The work of anti-trafficking at grass-roots level in Albania.

At this year’s working Board, there were new members from Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Malta who brought new perspectives to bear, which created an interesting dynamic .
Each day’s work was underpinned by Mass at the beginning of each day and Theological Reflections, based on the daily theme/topic, drawing the formal business of the day to a close.
The highlight of the week was undoubtedly the Field Trips to witness first-hand the mission of anti-trafficking in Albania, through Mary Ward Loreto and the Roma Projects; Different and Equal Project; and sharing time with members of the local women’s group at Shkoder/Hot I Ri project.
Through these projects, the enormity of the challenge to try to combat human trafficking was reduced to realistic possibilities and where the phrase ‘’No longer slaves but brothers and sisters’’ came alive.
Believing that God will ask each of us ‘’What did you do for your brother/sister?’’ (Gen 4; 9-10), the work of the week through formal meetings, prayers, liturgies, various exchanges and quiet reflection ensured that each participant returns to her own country strengthened in her commitment to the social teachings of the church in which the work against human trafficking is considered the mission of God.
Clearly enormous work was undertaken by Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE and her team at Mary Ward Loreto, Albania. No request seemed too much to ask. The team were true ambassadors for Albania, as they worked conscientiously to ensure the success of the Board meeting in their country.
Justa del Sol_Memorias de Albania_ES
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Round Table Discussion on Human Trafficking in Lithuania

 

Round Table discussions in Lithuania_1The Missing Persons’ Families Support Centre in Lithuania (member of RENATE), organised a round table discussion on best practices in the prevention of human trafficking. The event took place in the British Embassy in Vilnius on the 26th February 2015. In addition to sharing best practice, participants learned about the United Kingdom’s  organisations which are helping victims of  trafficking. Round Table discussions in Lithuania_2
Twenty two delegates attended, representing key organisations such as the Lithuanian Prosecutor’s Office, the Lithuanian Police, the Vilnius City Municipality, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Vilnius City Social Support Centre, Children’s Rights Protection and Adoption Service.