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The United Nations (UN) has established a trust fund for a permanent memorial to honour the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

A ceremony was held recently at the UN headquarters in New York to launch the Permanent Memorial Trust Fund and to announce the appointment of hip-hop pioneer and philanthropist Russell Simmons as Goodwill Ambassador for the project.

Jamaica’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Raymond O. Wolfe, in his remarks at the launch, said that as Jamaican and a Caribbean national, he was proud of this important initiative, which is being led by member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with strong support from the African Union.

“It is with a sense of duty and deep humility that we seek to honour the memories of our ancestors, who were brought to the Caribbean and other regions as a result of the transatlantic slave trade. (This) ceremony takes us one step forward in realising our objective,” said Ambassador Wolfe, who is also chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee.

He urged the world community to view the project as a “tangible source of hope and a means of remembrance of the struggles to break free of the hardships faced under the pernicious system of slavery and colonial rule”.

Mr. Simmons, for his part, told the gathering that it was a great honour to be appointed the face and voice of such an iconic initiative that will remind generations of their shared history and legacy. He said that the story of slavery was not being told enough.

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