Regional leaders want collaborative effort with Africa to address reparation issues

November 16, 2023  -The Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Dr. Carla Barnett, has highlighted the importance of reparations for the trans-Atlantic slave trade as a top priority for the 15-member regional group.

Speaking at the ACCRA Reparations Conference, Barnett noted the critical need for collaboration with Africa to advance the reparations justice agenda.

Engaging leaders and experts in dialogue

The conference, themed “Building a United Front to Advance the Cause of Justice and the Payment of Reparations to Africans,” brought together African heads of state, scholars, legal experts, and civil society representatives.

CARICOM leaders are advocating for a joint effort with the African Union, seeking to propose a United Nations resolution for reparatory justice.

Strategic steps towards global recognition

Barnett revealed plans to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) through the United Nations General Assembly.

This move, intended to involve the African Union, aims to place reparations on the agenda of key intergovernmental meetings and establish mechanisms for CARICOM-Africa cooperation, including a joint committee of legal experts.

Deepening collaborative efforts

Highlighting the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent, Barnett acknowledged the participation of distinguished CARICOM representatives and anticipated deeper collaboration.

She noted the increasing cooperation between CARICOM and Africa, citing various forums, summits, and study tours focusing on reparations and racial healing.

Advocacy for cultural restitution and reparations

The conference also featured Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who advocated for reparations and the restitution of stolen African cultural properties.

He spoke about the devastating effects of the slave trade on Africa and the diaspora, calling for recognition and reparations for the immense losses suffered.

A unified voice for justice

In conclusion, Barnett urged the conference participants to unite their voices, advocating for reparations for the crimes against humanity, including native genocide, the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved Africans, and chattel enslavement.

This collective effort aims to acknowledge and address the long-standing impacts of these historical injustices.

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