Press Releases

    5 January 2004

    Secretary-General Congratulates Haiti on Bicentennial, Says Independence Was “Beginning of the End” of Slavery in Americas

    NEW YORK, 1 January (UN Headquarters) -- The following statement was issued on 1 January by the Spokesman for Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

    The Secretary-General sends his congratulations to all Haitians as they celebrate their country’s bicentennial today. The proclamation of the independent Republic of Haiti on 1 January 1804 was the beginning of the end of slavery in the Americas. This day is therefore an anniversary of deep significance to all mankind, and an ideal way to mark the beginning of a year that has been declared by the General Assembly to be the International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and Its Abolition.

    As Haitians recall the spirit of their forefathers, the Secretary-General hopes that they will find a way to overcome the current political impasse in their country. There is a need to build a consensus that allows the goals of good governance, respect for human rights, economic and social recovery, and human and environmental regeneration to be more vigorously pursued. The United Nations stands ready to play its part in helping to build a better future for all Haitians.

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