More than a year after Black Lives Matter protests began a worldwide reckoning about the centuries of racism the world continues to face, the question of reappraisal emerged – unequivocally – of this year’s world leaders. As a high-profile issue in the largest gathering.
At the United Nations General Assembly, African and Caribbean countries that stood to benefit from reunification had the support of other countries, although those most responsible for slavery and colonialism said little about whether they would be responsible for African descendants. Wat can be done.
Leaders from Africa (South Africa and Cameroon) to the Caribbean (St Kitts and Nevis and St Lucia) were joined by representatives from countries unlikely to be tapped to pay – among them Cuba and Malaysia – Obviously support building repairs. system
However, those missing from the renewed global conversation on the subject were also notable: the United States, Britain and Germany, the wealthy and developed nations created by a variety of conquests.
Philippe said, “Caribbean countries like ours, which were exploited and underdeveloped to finance Europe’s development, have put forward a case for compensation for slavery and native genocide, and we expect the matter to be taken seriously and Will be treated with urgency.” Jay Pierre, Prime Minister of St. Lucia. “There should be no double standards in the international system in recognizing, acknowledging and compensation for victims of crimes against humanity.”
A look at who’s been talking about the issue this past week and what isn’t is a sign that the movement that supports literal pay to the African continent and the forced diaspora that destroys it is on the rise, with genuine involvement of the major powers. – Apologies though – is limited.
For example, US President Joe Biden made no mention of it in his address, although the White House said earlier this year that it supports a compensation study for black Americans. And the office of its UN ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is African American, would not comment on discussions of recent repairs.
Monetary atonement for America’s history of slavery is an important question in the world’s attempt to reconcile South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has been described as “one of the darkest times in the history of mankind, and a crime of unparalleled barbarism”. is called.
“Its legacy lives on in the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Africa,” Ramaphosa said at a meeting on repairs during the General Assembly. “The millions of descendants of Africans who were sold into slavery are trapped in a life of underdevelopment, disadvantage, discrimination and poverty.”
Slavery in the United States began more than 400 years ago when slaves were forcibly taken by ship from Africa. The debate about reparations has been ongoing since slavery was abolished in 1865.
In recent years, the issue has hung in Congress for more than three decades, though a sly re-evaluation of cities and local governments has gained traction as the country grapples with the fallout from the death of George Floyd in 2020.
Carla Firstman, an international law expert who studies reparations as a professor at the University of Essex, said the UN talks this session marked an important milestone for the global reform movement that has been going on for 20 years. Is.
It remains to be seen how this manifests between individual nations – and how transformative the results are. While every compensation program would be exclusively between the perpetrators and the descendants of the victims, the conversation to correct wrongs in history has now become universal.
“It is universal,” said Firstman, “because inequality is universal.”
Direct financial payments for valuable reparations individuals to address the loss, development assistance to countries, return of colonized lands, valuable artifacts and cultural objects, systematic reform of policies and laws that may still be repressed, and full-fledged types of can come as Throat apologies and confessions that erase some of the historical figures who were once celebrated as national heroes.
“People perceive their loss in very different ways – the perception of how mistakes were made and how they manifest in the context of later generations,” Firstman said. “One needs to be sensitive to what is important and how best to improve.”
The latest discussion on reparations came when the United Nations celebrated an important but controversial anti-racism convention in South Africa in 2001, resulting in what came to be known as the Durban Declaration.
A new resolution adopted at the commemoration meeting last Wednesday acknowledged some progress, but called it an increase in discrimination, violence and intolerance for people of African heritage and many other groups – from Roma to refugees, From young to old, people with disabilities to displaced people.
There was even a discussion devoted to reparations, although it was not taken into account during that conversation that last week’s new announcement fell short of demanding that nations pay compensation to those who harmed their government. have to give.
It said only that there should be a way for the descendants to obtain “a fair and adequate indemnity or satisfaction for any damage caused”. This was despite the UN Human Rights Council’s explicit recommendation for a re-evaluation in a major milestone report in June.
“While reparations could not compensate or correct all wrongs committed against people of African descent, they could go a long way in addressing the systemic racism that they still feel to bring an equal playing field in society today. can go a long way to achieve real capabilities,” the head of the United Nations mission to Malaysia, Syed Mohamed Hasin Edid, said at Wednesday’s meeting.
The United States, Britain and Germany were among dozens of countries that did not attend the Durban memorial last week due to persistent complaints about the convention 20 years ago, when the US boycotted it in the context of the Israel-Palestinian conflict .
The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it does not dispute the horrors of slavery and colonialism, but it is focused on solving today’s problems. It said in a statement: “While we acknowledge that the wounds are deep, we believe that the most effective way for Britain today to respond to the brutality of the past is to ensure that present and future generations do not forget that What had happened, and to address modern-day slavery and racism.”
The President of Germany, in his General Assembly address, did not mention compensation, although he is one of the few countries to have directed funds for his colonial-era works.
Earlier this year, Germany officially recognized the massacre of tens of thousands of people in Namibia as a genocide and agreed to provide 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) for projects that help affected communities. is expected to last for more than 30 years. That declaration did not explicitly label Germany’s initiative as a formal indemnity.
Facing journalists at the United Nations this week demanding answers on Namibia, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said her country continues to negotiate proposals with African leaders.
Maas said, ”