At UN, nations urge overdue reckoning with colonial crimes

In this photo provided by the United Nations, Gaston Alphonso Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Friday, September 25, 2020, at the UN headquarters. (Photo: AP)

Leaders of countries once subjugated to Western powers sent a pointed message at this year’s UN General Assembly: For those who think the word “colonialism” evokes a long-ago, no-longer-relevant era, think again.

Several leaders raised this year’s global protests inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and renewed demands for reparations for the slave trade, calling them just one step in a still-unfinished reckoning with crimes of former empires.

The onetime French colony of New Caledonia — still run by Paris, more than 10,000 miles and 10 time zones away — is voting Sunday on whether to break free. A Congolese activist is going on trial Wednesday in France after recently trying to “take back” African art plundered from colonies and now showcased in European museums.

“The global movement for racial justice and equality is not a passing phenomenon,” said Paul Kagame of Rwanda, once colonised by Germany and Belgium. “What is required is action that builds public trust in the equal dignity of all citizens, as demonstrated in the treatment of those who have historically been most marginalised, and who continue to suffer mistreatment disproportionately.”

Both past and present are infusing discussions about the state of the world’s nations at the General Assembly, which wraps up Tuesday, and where leaders of ex-colonies get equal time with ex-colonisers at the planet’s most important diplomatic event.

Sierre Leone’s vice president gave world nations a 10-year deadline to wrap up the colonial era, once and for all. Vanuatu in the South Pacific and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean were among those who used the UN event to press territorial disputes left over from colonial times.

And Prime Minister gaston Browne, the leader of Caribbean ex-British colony Antigua and Barbuda, said it’s time for creditor countries – many of whom built empires thanks to slave labor and exploiting colonies’ resources – to forgive poor-country debt amid 2020’s global economic crisis.

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  1. Lest, the People forget, the Churches are just, as guilty as, the Colonizers, since, they were, and are still in bed with the former and present colonizers.
    Why not include, the churches rules from such things as their Inquisitions, to include mental and physical abuses!

  2. I personally never owned a slave nor know anyone who was a slave.
    Therefore I don’t owe anyone Money. Just away to scam money from countries
    this is what the BLM does to States and corporations,BLM is A Terrorist listed american Corp.
    not a charity,they do nothing for black folks except burn and loot there business and homes.
    Maybe it’s time to make your own way and quite asking for something that’s not yours

    • @SWR…asinine at best is how your ‘thought process’ is graded, on this subject matter!
      Please allow, or alot yourself some time, and start with the Spanish Inquisitions to the Halls of Windsor Palace, and those on Capitaline Hill.

      As to your asinine assertion, then the purported jews/israelites who are still being pampered, by all and sundry, as they claim that they’re the #CHOOSEN, should be considered, bullshit all well!
      #WHO’RE you…?

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