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Hull News & Pictures Ltd
2 September 2017: Former Secretary-General of the UN Kofi Annan presents the Wilberforce lecture today at the City Hall, Hull, East Yorkshire, UK. The lecture is part of the Freedom Festival - an annual three day event celebrating the work of William Willberforce, who was born in Hull, and who helped with the abolition of slavery.
Picture: Sean Spencer/Hull News & Pictures Ltd
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Press Release: Former Secretary-General of the UN presented with Wilberforce Medallion for the work of his Foundation
Former Secretary-General of the UN Kofi Annan was presented with the Wilberforce Medallion following his delivery of the annual Wilberforce lecture to a packed audience at Hull City Hall today.
In a speech entitled Freedom in the 21st Century Mr Annan focused on present day threats to the fundamental human right of freedom. In a powerful address he acknowledged the historical dedication of Wilberforce in ending the hateful slave trade but recognised that the commercialisation of human life still continues in many forms today.
Speaking to the sold out event, Mr Annan told the audience that an estimated 21m people globally are victims of forced labour, many more are the victims of traffickers, hundreds of thousands of children suffer the plight of harsh labour or are forced to fight as soldiers.
Mr Annan called for today’s slavery to be tackled as aggressively as Wilberforce and his peers did so two centuries ago and that inspiration should be taken from the legacy of Wilberforce and the abolitionists, who proved that when individuals decide to take personal responsibility and work together, they can transform the world.
Mr Annan was presented with the medal by Professor John Oldfield, Director of the Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull. The Wilberforce medallion is given to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the furtherance of human rights and democracy. The wor