UK politicians and campaigners call for reparative justice for African slave trade

Cross-party MPs host inaugural conference to agree on common statement to put to parliament
Politicians, campaigners and community groups are uniting for the first time to make “a very distinct and clear call for reparative justice” at an inaugural reparations conference this weekend.

The all-party parliamentary group for Afrikan reparations (APPG-AR), a group of cross-party MPs, is hosting its first reparations conference in Euston in north London to collectively agree on a common statement with stakeholders and grassroots campaigners that can be used by MPs to push forward a policy for reparative justice in the House of Commons.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, the Streatham MP and chair of the APPG-AR, said: “We are bringing people from across the country – and there are international speakers as well – to make a very, very distinct and clear call for reparative justice.”

As well as grassroots activists and community groups, politicians and representatives from the Scottish National party, Green party and Labour party are participating in the conference, she said.

“It’s a conference of people who have been talking about these issues for a long time.”

Reparative justice isn’t just about money, she added. “We want commitments that go far beyond financial compensation,” she said. “Understandably, there may be some financial compensation payments to be made. [But] reparative justice has to go much further, it has to go towards equity, repairing all the damage that was done as a direct consequence of the trafficking and enslavement of Africans.”

The conference will also discuss the restitution of valuable stolen African artefacts and ancestral remains held in the collections of museums and other institutions in the UK.

“A lot of these awful museums – I call them awful because I was asked to leave one a couple of days ago – are claiming that if they just hand these things back, their museums will be empty and those people [in Africa] won’t be able to take care of them. But we saw recently the British Museum doesn’t even know what it has, to the extent that for over a year, employees were suspected of stealing things and putting them on eBay,” Ribeiro-Addy said. – The Guardian

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