Calls for compensation for slavery and colonial rule as well as reparation for rasist policies or acts are likely to be some of the most contentious issues on the agenda of the upcoming World Conference against Racism in Durban.
Abstracts from article:
Foreign Affairs Director-general Sipho Pityana the African region has proposed that the conference "strongly affirm that states which pursued racist policies and acts of racial discrimination such as slavery and colonialism should assume their moral, economic, political and legal responsibilities".
The document says such countries should "provide adequate reparation to those communities or individuals ... who are victims of such racist policies or acts, regardless of when or by whom they were committed". An international compensation scheme for victims of slave trade should also be set up by the conference, the African region recommended.
Pityana said the expectation was that today's society had to pass moral judgment on the past in order to move forward. It had to say unequivocally that slavery was wrong and abominable, that it was by modern standards perhaps a crime against humanity. "Colonialism brought with it its own ravages, pain and suffering. That is about acknowledgement," Pityana said.
As a consequence of slavery and colonialism, distorted relations developed between Africa and the rest of the world. In this relationship, African countries were exploited, marginalised, and suffered persistent underdevelopment. Part of challenge ahead was about how these relations should be altered.
"It may be that a conversation about compensation and reparation is in fact about that, and about dealing with that legacy," Pityana said. "The pronouncement and the condemnation of that past, without dealing with its ... contribution to continued poverty, may not be adequate. So, that is what the debate is about."
- Source: Full article "Racism not about handouts" appeared on the news24.com website