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HomeCommonwealth DeskCommonwealth SecretariatCommonwealth Secretary-General pays tribute to slaves who sought freedom in Le Morne.

Commonwealth Secretary-General pays tribute to slaves who sought freedom in Le Morne.

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In a historic event on the 25th of July 2023, Patricia Scotland, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, and the Prime Minister of Mauritius the Hon Pravind Jugnauth, senior Mauritian government officials, international leaders, dignitaries, and descendants of the Maroon people, united to commemorate the 15th anniversary of Le Morne’s designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This occasion not only celebrated the resilience and heritage of the descendants of enslaved people from Africa, India and South east Asia  known as Maroons, who fought for their freedom and sought shelter in the caves of Le Morne, a basaltic mountain situated on the west coast of Mauritius but also shed light on the enduring relevance of the Commonwealth Charter in addressing global crises, poverty, economic strife, and climate change.

Le Morne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a solemn testament to the dark chapters of history when the maroons were subjected to the brutality of slavery. Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Mauritius, Le Morne was a refuge for escaped slaves during the 18th and 19th centuries. Its rugged cliffs and lush vegetation provided a sanctuary for those seeking freedom.

Standing at the International Slave Route Monument, she said:

“This site is so many things. A monument to some of the worst crimes in human history, a reminder that such atrocities may never be repeated. A testament to the courage people can summon when they are tested to the limit. A symbol of resistance of the slaves’ fight for freedom, their suffering, and their sacrifice. A beacon of hope for a better life.”

In this era of global crises, the Commonwealth Charter shines as a beacon of hope.It   enshrines the values of democracy, human rights, and sustainable development, providing a framework for cooperation among its 54 member nations. It underscores the commitment to alleviate poverty, promote economic growth, and address the pressing challenges of our time.

The 21st century has been marked by a series of global crises that demand collective action. From the COVID-19 pandemic to the looming threat of climate change, the world faces challenges that no single nation can overcome alone. The Commonwealth, with its diverse membership and shared values, is uniquely positioned to foster collaboration in times of adversity.

Patricia Scotland, in her role as Secretary-General, has tirelessly advocated for multilateral cooperation. The Commonwealth’s response to the pandemic, through the sharing of medical expertise and resources, exemplifies the spirit of solidarity that the Charter embodies. As the world continues to grapple with health and economic crises, the Commonwealth remains a crucial platform for coordination and support.

Economic strife and poverty persist as formidable barriers to progress in many Commonwealth nations. In the wake of the pandemic, the Charter’s commitment to inclusive economic growth is more pertinent than ever. By promoting trade, investment, and innovation, the Commonwealth aims to create opportunities for all, especially the marginalized and vulnerable.

Perhaps the most pressing challenge of our time, climate change threatens the very existence of vulnerable communities in Commonwealth countries. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and loss of biodiversity are already impacting lives and livelihoods. The Commonwealth, with its diverse representation of nations, is a powerful advocate for climate action and adaptation.

As Patricia Scotland the Prime Minister of Mauritius and other dignitaries joined hands at this historic site, they sent a powerful message of unity and resilience. They reaffirmed their commitment to the values enshrined in the Charter: democracy, human rights, sustainable development, and the pursuit of a more just and equitable world.

In the face of global crises, poverty, economic strife, and climate change, the Commonwealth Charter remains a vital instrument for fostering international cooperation and finding solutions that transcend borders. Together, as a global community, we must heed the lessons of Le Morne and work towards a future where justice, equality, and human dignity prevail.

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