The world is this year celebrating the International Year for People of African Descent, proclaimed recently by the General Assembly. The year seeks to strengthen political commitment to eradicating discrimination against people of African descent. It also aims to promote greater awareness of and respect for the diverse heritage and culture of people of African descent. According to the Resolution adopted by the General Assembly, the celebration which began on January 1, 2011, is to strengthen national actions and regional and international cooperation for the benefit of people of African descent in relation to their full enjoyment of economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights, among other things. In his address at the launch, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he welcomed this effort to pay tribute to the vast contributions made by people of African descent to the advancement of the political, economic, social and cultural development of all societies. “At the same time, we must remember that people of African descent are among those most affected by racism. “Too often, they face denial of basic rights such as access to quality health services and education. Such fundamental wrongs have a long and terrible history.” Ban said the international community had affirmed that the transatlantic slave trade was an appalling tragedy not only because of its barbarism but also because of its magnitude, organized nature and negation of the essential humanity of the victims. “Even today, Africans and people of African descent continue to suffer the consequences of these acts,” he said.