African and Caribbean nations impacted by the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism have united in demanding reparations from European countries.
The Associated Press that delegates attending the Accra Reparations Conference in Ghana, West Africa, agreed Thursday (Nov. 16) to establish a Global Reparations Fund to redress Europeans accumulating great wealth by enslaving Africans without compensation and the ongoing consequences for their descendants.
In October, the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent delivered a report to the U.N. General Assembly that said people of African descent around the world are “victims of systemic discrimination and racialized attacks” and called for reparations.
Delegates from the Caribbean Community (Caricom) of 20 countries and the 55-member African Union organized the reparations conference, The Guardian. They formed a “united front” to pressure the former colonial powers to make amends for “historical mass crimes.”
“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 four-day conference.
Caricom’s secretary general, Carla Barnett, said, “We are at an important inflection point in the global movement for reparatory justice,” adding that it’s important to “speak with one voice to advance the call for reparations.”
In September, former British Caribbean colonies said they planned to send letters demanding an apology and reparations for slavery to the British royal family and other British institutions involved in the transatlantic slave trade.
But a British Foreign Office official attending the conference in Ghana told The Guardian that the U.K. government opposes the concept of reparations.
It’s undetermined how much financial compensation the African diaspora nations seek or what reparations would look like.
Scholars say the transatlantic chattel slave trade took at least 12 million Africans from their homelands and transported them to European colonies between the 16th and 19th centuries.
Activists have said reparations should include developmental aid for countries, the return of colonized resources and the systemic correction of oppressive policies and laws.