African And Caribbean Countries Partner To Seek Reparations For Slavery
The African Union is partnering with Caribbean countries to form a “united front” in an effort to persuade European nations to pay reparations for “historical mass crimes.”
The African Union is partnering with Caribbean countries to form a “united front” to persuade European nations to pay reparations for “historical mass crimes.”
The Guardian reports the partnership between the 55-member African Union and the Caribbean Community of 20 countries was forged at a summit in Ghana earlier this month and will aim to intensify pressure on European nations that enslaved people to engage with a growing reparations movement.
A draft proclamation circulated after the conference did not specify whether the reparations would come in the form of money or property. It did say the African Union would explore “litigation options” and work with the United Nations to determine “whether acts of enslavement against Africans constituted serious violations of human rights at the time they were committed.”
A finalized version of the proclamation is expected to be released in the coming days.
Reparation efforts have been growing across the world, including the United States. In Illinois, Evanston will give $25,000 each to almost 140 residents by the end of the year, and several have already begun receiving payments. In California, a reparations task force suggests Black residents may be owed a total of more than $800 billion for decades of over-policing, disproportionate incarceration, and housing discrimination.
“The entire period of slavery meant that our progress, economically, culturally, and psychologically, was stifled. There are legions of stories of families who were torn apart … You cannot quantify the effects of such tragedies, but they need to be recognized,” Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said at the opening of the conference.
Akufo-Addo added the “entire continent of Africa deserves a formal apology from the European nations involved in the slave trade” and that no amount of money can heal the damage caused by the slave trade, but this is a matter the world can no longer hide from and must confront.
Earlier this summer, African Union delegates traveled to Barbados to begin discussions on how to work with Caribbean nations in the effort, and an official from the British Foreign Office attended the conference. However, when UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was asked whether he would offer an apology for his country’s role in slavery, he said “no,” adding that “trying to unpick our history is not the right way forward and is not something we will focus our energies on.”
Some strides have been made across the world. German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed “shame” and asked for forgiveness for the colonial atrocities his country inflicted on Tanzania. In 2021, Germany officially acknowledged committing genocide during its occupation of Namibia and announced financial aid worth more than £940m ($1.1 billion)
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