Europe Faces Pressure To Pay Slavery Reparations

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From the AFP:

PARIS — Historians and anti-racism campaigners are to urge the countries that oversaw and profited from the Atlantic slave trade to recognise it as a crime against humanity, opening the way for reparations.

Next week, activists are to send a letter to the leaders of Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain asking them to recognise the trade as an historic injustice a century and a half after it ended.

They have already convinced France to do so.

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The European Memorial Foundation for the Slave Trade will launch the appeal at the French Senate on May 10, backed by the French historian Louis Sala-Molins and John Franklin from the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

“There are several reasons for this, including its symbolic value, to restore the memory of this crime against humanity,” Karfa Diallo, chairman of the foundation, told AFP.

“There’s also a question, shall we say, of justice,” he said.

The continuing problem of racism in a Europe that now has an ethnically diverse population that could be precisely traced back to the 16th and 17th century texts justifying and codifying slavery, he argued.

“Racism and discrimination persists in Europe. Young people of Caribbean and African ancestry are victims of it. And we know, historians have shown this, that racism was born in this story.”

Diallo’s group was founded in the former French slave port of Bordeaux in 1998.

It has found allies in other cities of Western Europe that grew wealthy on the profits of the trade, from Bristol in England to Porto in Portugal.

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