EU historic reparations/justice move for people of African descent


It is nearly one year ago when 200 delegates of African descent gathered at the European Union to have an historic 3 day conference about the challenges we face and how the EU should assist.

There was much talk, but also a lot of lobbying and planning. Of that team a few people particularly stood out. MEP Cecile Kyenge and her able team included Alfiaz Viay.

Fast forward today and thanks in no small measure to Cecile Kyenge who helped draft the document, EU have made an historic declaration in which all member states must abide by including the UK.

It states: “The European commission must fund programmes to support people of African descent in the EU’s next seven-year budget and set up a dedicated team to focus on Afrophobia”.

It also calls on member states to declassify their colonial archives and consider, “some form of reparations” for crimes of the colonial era, including public apologies and the restitution of artefacts from museums. “Some member states have taken steps towards meaningful and effective redress for past injustices and crimes against humanity – bearing in mind their lasting impacts in the present,” the resolution states.

“Histories of injustices against Africans and people of African Descent – including enslavement, forced labour, racial apartheid, massacre, and genocides in the context of European colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade – remain largely unrecognised and unaccounted for at an institutional level in EU member states,”

It is quite an extraordinary declaration in particular given the rise of racism right across Europe, and will give great hope to the 20 million people of African descent living in main land Europe. For us Black Brits, this is not a time when we should be leaving the EU when we have fought so long for a collective politics that begins to recognise and deal with the historic legacy of slavery and colonialism.

Simon Woolley