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African Union and Caribbean Nations Unite to Demand Reparations From European Countries for Slavery

A historic summit in Ghana has fuelled a global movement for reparations for slavery. It witnessed a unique collaboration between the African Union (AU) and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) with the partnership aiming to create a “united front”, urging European nations to acknowledge and address the historical atrocities associated with slavery.

Objectives of the partnership

The collaboration between the 55-member AU and the 20-member Caricom as per the Guardian seeks to intensify pressure on European nations. It wants to persuade European Nations, especially those with a history of slave ownership, to recognize and pay for their “historical mass crimes”.

Delegates also unveiled plans for a global fund, based in Africa, dedicated to expediting the campaign for reparatory justice.

Draft proclamation

A preliminary proclamation circulated at the conference outlined the AU’s commitment to exploring “litigation options” and collaborating with the United Nations to assess “whether acts of enslavement against Africans constituted serious violations of human rights at the time they were committed”. 

The finalised document, titled ‘the Accra proclamation’, is anticipated to be released this weekend.

Quantification of slave trade

Speaking at the opening of the summit, Ghana’s President’s Nana Akufo-Addo emphasised the staggering consequences of slavery. He said, “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 recognised,” he added.

He also said that the “entire continent of Africa deserves a formal apology from the European nations involved in the slave trade”.

“No amount of money can restore the damage caused by the transatlantic slave trade and its consequences. But surely, this is a matter that the world must confront and can no longer ignore.”

Between the 16th and 19th century, European nations forcibly enslaved over 12 million Africans on plantations.

Resistance from European Nations

“As part of standard diplomatic engagement” the conference was attended by the British Foreign Office. However, the UK government continues to maintain its resistance to the reparations concept. 

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has firmly rejected the idea of a comprehensive apology for the UK’s historical role in slavery and colonialism. Earlier this year, he said: “trying to unpick our history is not the right way forward and is not something we will focus our energies on.”

Source: WION