Africa-led Group of Countries Corner Europe for Slavery
The African Union, a 55-member bloc, has teamed up with the Caribbean Community (Caricom), which consists of 20 countries, is pushing European nations to take responsibility and accountability for historical mass crimes – slavery.
Research states that at least 12.5 million Africans, from the 15th to the 19th century, were kidnapped and forcibly transported by mostly European ships and sold into slavery. And now the African and Caribbean countries have formed a unified front to seek reparations.
This Africa-led group aims to pressure former slave-owning nations to engage with the reparations movement. A global fund based in Africa has also been set up to accelerate this campaign. In July, the European Union had said Europe’s slave-trading past inflicted untold suffering on millions of people.
EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), in a two-day summit, acknowledged and profoundly regretted the untold suffering inflicted on millions of men, women and children due to transatlantic slave trade. They described slavery and transatlantic slave trade was appalling tragedies. “Slavery was a crime against humanity.”
Slavery Stifled Growth
Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo said he entire period of slavery meant their progress, economically, culturally, and psychologically was stifled. “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.”
Akufo-Addo believes 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.”
Carla Barnett, Caricom’s secretary general, said they are at an important inflection point in the global movement for reparatory justice. She highlighted that its critical to speak with one voice to advance the call for reparations.
UK Not for Slavery Reparations
While the UK Labor MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy had earlier in the year said he would offer a full and meaningful apology for Britain’s role in slavery and colonialism and commit to reparatory justice. But Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said no. He believes it’s important to have an inclusive and tolerant society. “Trying to unpick our history is not the right way forward and is not something we will focus our energies on.” Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German president, expressed shame for the colonial atrocities Germany inflicted on Tanzania. In 2021, Germany officially acknowledged committing genocide during its occupation of Nambia and announced financial aid. The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte had also offered a formal apology on behalf of Netherlands historical role in slave trade. He also recognized as a crime against humanity.