Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images.
Accra Reparations Conference Sparks Global Dialogue on Redressing Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Injustices
Leaders convene in Ghana to address the enduring scars of slavery, calling for reparations, acknowledgment, and reconciliation, sparking international discussions on historical justice and shared prosperity.
African leaders convened at the inaugural Accra Reparations Conference (ARC) have issued a collective call for reparations and restitution to address the historic crimes of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. They argued that the enduring injustices and inhumane treatment inflicted during this dark period continue to reverberate in both African societies and the Diaspora, eroding self-esteem, dignity, and identity.
Speaking at the opening session of the four-day conference hosted by Ghana, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo declared the trans-Atlantic slave trade as "the most barbaric episode in human history." He emphasized the devastating effects of slavery on Africa, highlighting its economic, cultural, and psychological stifling of the continent's progress.
President Akufo-Addo asserted, "Reparations for Africa and the African Diaspora are long overdue." However, he acknowledged that no amount of monetary compensation can fully restore the damage caused by the transatlantic slave trade, as its consequences are likely to endure for centuries. He called for European nations involved in the slave trade to issue a formal apology to the entire continent of Africa.
"The call for reparation is not a plea for arms but a call for justice," President Akufo-Addo emphasized.
Co-organized by Ghana and the African Union (AU) Commission, the conference aims to foster dialogue, knowledge sharing, and actionable strategies among various stakeholders to address historical injustices against Africans and people of African descent.
Under the theme "Building a United Front to advance the cause of justice and the payment of reparations to Africans," the conference explores legal and moral grounds for reparations and discusses different models of reparatory justice. It also examines mechanisms for truth-telling, acknowledgment, reconciliation, and healing within African societies and in relationships with former colonial powers.
President Akufo-Addo expressed optimism that the conference would lead to the development of an action plan for a sustainable reparatory justice process in Africa, considering the historical context, current challenges, and prospects.
The trans-Atlantic slave trade transported an estimated 10 to 12 million enslaved Africans across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas from the 16th to the 19th century. A significant percentage of those captured were women of childbearing age and young men who would have been starting families.
Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, emphasized in a delivered message that Africa has endured the brunt of injustices, including slavery, colonization, and racial discrimination for too long. He called for collective efforts between Africa and the Diaspora to rectify these wrongs for sustainable growth and development.
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