France celebrates on the 10th of May 2011 the tenth anniversary of the Law of May 21, 2001 per which it is the first State in the world to recognize slavery and to consider it a crime against humanity
On the occasion of the Sixth national day dedicated to the memories of slavery and their abolitions, a ceremony, in the presence of the President of the Republic, is organized in France. This event marks the engagement of France in favour of the promotion and the protection of the human rights everywhere in the world, and calls to the universal ratification of the additional Protocol of the convention of Palermo which aims at preventing, repressing and punishing slavery.
It is by the decree of April 27, 1848 signed under the second republic by the provisional Government under impulse, in particular, of Victor Schoelcher, that France abolished slavery in the French colonies. The first official celebrations were held that year, when the decision was taken.
In Malta, this abolition had taken place a few years before, on the decision of Bonaparte, taken on June 15, 1798.
The Law of May 21, 2001 which, unanimously, recognizes slavery as a crime against humanity, will lead to the creation the “Committee for the memory of the slavery”, composed of “qualified personalities, among which representatives of associations defending the memory of the slaves” www.comite-memoire-esclavage.fr
This committee will be charged “to propose inland, places and actions which guarantee the continuity of the memory of this crime through the generations”, being given as objective “to remind France that it contributed to slavery, to symbolically include the abolition in the official calendar of the national celebrations, to invite the citizens of the French Republic to lean solemnly, each year on this painful page of its history, by supporting on this occasion the widest possible diffusion of a shared history”.
On the 30th January 2006, The President of the French Republic decided to keep the date of the 10th of may.
“the 10th of May (…) puts an accent on the past and the present, the fight against the constraint to build a world together, a better future. Making it possible to take into account the globality of slavery and its multiple facets. It constitutes to the outcome of a movement and a broad and international reflexion on the effects slavery”.
Committee for the memory of slavery