Mauritius celebrates 15th Anniversary of Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site Inscription
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the inscription of the Aapravasi Ghat World Heritage Site, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on 16th July 2006 in Vilnius, Lithuania, at the 30th general meeting of the World Heritage Committee. To mark this milestone, the Ministry of Arts and Cultural Heritage, in collaboration with the Aapravasi Ghat Trust Fund and the Mauritius Film Development Corporation launched A retrospective film on the inscription of the Aapravasi Ghat on the World Heritage site and its significance.
Located in Port-Louis, the Aapravasi Ghat is the remains of an immigration depot, the site from where modern indentured labour Diaspora emerged. The Depot was built in 1849 to receive indentured labourers from India, Eastern Africa, Madagascar, China and Southeast Asia to work on the island’s sugar estates. The buildings of Aapravasi Ghat are among the earliest explicit manifestations of what would become a global economic system. The site stands as a major historic testimony of indenture in the 19th century and is the sole surviving example of this unique modern diaspora. It represents not only the development of the modern system of contractual labour, but also the memories, traditions and values that these men, women and children carried with them when they left their countries of origin to work in foreign lands and subsequently bequeathed to their millions of descendants for whom the site holds great symbolic meaning.
The First Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Indentured Labour Route Project (ILRP), which was hosted by the Government of Mauritius, recognized the 15th anniversary of the Aapravasi Ghat’s inscription on the World Heritage List. The meeting aimed to bring together countries that have experienced indenture and other forms of forced labor and servitude in the mid-nineteenth and twentieth century, to contribute to nation-building efforts and a greater understanding among peoples and societies across the indentured diaspora, as well as within the countries themselves.