Earth Sciences
May 22, 2001

The United States and European nations are against any discussions about reparations at a major United Nations conference on racism.

South Africa is leading an African bloc that wants the conference to label slavery "a crime against humanity" - a description, which the UK, Spain and Portugal reject.

The European countries and the US are also resisting African calls for some kind of reparations for the slave trade.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson - who will host the anti-racism conference in the South African city of Durban later this year - urged delegates to "look for common ground" at the final meeting to prepare for the conference.

The BBC's Fergus Nicoll said that the Europeans and Africans would probably be able to work out a compromise on wording, perhaps calling present-day human trafficking a crime.

The US and European countries claim that it may be more difficult to reach consensus over compensation.

The US has threatened to withdraw funding for the conference if it includes a call for reparations.

The event - officially called the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance - will be held from 31 August to 7 September.

Full article can be found at:

Map of Slave Routes

'Mere presence' of a black face can lead people to mistake objects for weapons more often, study says. May 14, 2001


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