Dr. Kwame Nantambu

Question of Apology for Slavery and Reparations: Updated

By Dr. Kwame Nantambu
October 09, 2011

Apology for Slavery

In April 2006, the Church of England voted "to apologize to the descendants of victims of the slave trade" and in March 2007, considered paying reparations.

In late April 2006, Jamaica introduced a resolution in the United Nations General Assembly on behalf of the Caribbean and Afrika with co-sponsorship by most European nations "to acknowledge the legacy of slavery as being at the heart of situations of profound social and economic inequality, hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice which continue to affect people of Afrikan descent today."

On 25 March 2007, bicentenary of Abolition of Slave Trade, then Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair publicly stated that slavery was "a crime against humanity" and offered "deep sorrow" for British involvement but no apology.

In May 2007, Pope Benedict XV1 condemned "the genocide of the Jews."

In August 2007, the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, apologized for his city's role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. He stated that London was "tainted" by it.

On 29 July 2008, the United States House of Representatives issued "an unprecedented apology to Black Americans for the institution of slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow laws that for years discriminated against Blacks as second-class citizens in American society."

On 18 June 2009, the United States Senate passed a resolution apologizing for "slavery and segregation of Afrikan-Americans".


"The 1825 'agreement' that initially forced Haiti to pay France 150 million francs (US $21.7b) in exchange for liberty" was in fact, compensation/reparations "payable to mainly French planters who had lost their property in the revolution" of 1 January 1804.

On 7 January 1998, the Canadian government apologized to the country's 725,000 "indigenous people", namely, Indian communities and pledged $245m as reparations.

On 12 June 1998, then President Bill Clinton apologized to more than 2,200 people of Japanese ancestry who were forcibly taken from their homes in thirteen countries in Latin America during WW11 and were imprisoned in internment camps in Texas under the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The U.S. government paid $5,000 in reparations to each of the internees.

In January 1999, 200 Americans who survived WW11 concentration camp atrocities received reparations from the German government.

In February 1999, the German government established a "compensation fund" totalling US $1.25b to compensate Jewish victims who suffered Nazi horrors.

On 31 March 1999, the United States government established a US$4m international relief fund to assist needy Jewish survivors of Nazi persecution.

In June 1999, Swiss banks established US $59m humanitarian fund for Jewish Holocaust victims.

In December 1999, the United States and German governments established a compensation fund of US $5.2b to surviving slave workers during the Nazi era.

In March 2000, the German government paid US $5b compensation to survivors of forced labourers in Hitler's concentration camps.

In July 2006, one hundred and thirty survivors of the 1986 Suriname massacre received US $ 13,000 each in compensation.

In January 2007, the Canadian government paid US $8.9m to a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who was a victim of the U.S. "rendition program."

In mid-April 2003, thousands of victims of Apartheid in South Africa who testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission received a "one-time reparation of about $4,000."

Truth Be Told: The total amount of compensation/reparations, that is, unpaid wages, that are owed to Afrikans who worked on the European plantations for centuries have been estimated to be US $770 trillion plus interest.

Shem Hotep ("I go in peace").

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour and Co-operative Studies.

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