Africans stick to their guns over demands for reparations

Durban- South Africa (PANA) -- Unlike the Arabs, who are prepared to wait for another occasion to press their case, Africans at the World Conference against Racism are far from relenting on their demand for apologies over western abuses.
Sources close to the African Group said Wednesday that "the only possible concession would be to dissociate the issue of reparation from ongoing negotiations with the G8, particularly concerning terms for implementing the New African Initiative adopted last July in Lusaka".
Black Africans in particular, insist on concrete reparations for prejudices suffered from slavery, the transatlantic trade and colonisation, arguing that these issues have already been recognised by international jurisprudence.
"Why should the right to compensation be admitted for Jews, Americans of Japanese origin and not for African-Americans," Zimbabwe's Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa queried earlier Tuesday.
He observed that denying Africa reparations would amount to a policy of double standards.
Allusion was made to "German reparations to Israel for the Holocaust perpetrated after the Second World War, as well as American reparations to Americans of Japanese origin for their illegal detention during the war.
Equally cited was New Zealand's reparations to the Moari people.
The position advanced by some African delegates is for Durban to call for "the immediate formulation of elaborate compensation programmes".
Following the example of the Santiago (Chile) declaration that was endorsed by the US, they want the Durban conference to also "formally apologise to Africa and her children of the Diaspora who, because of abuses suffered, continue to be the predestined victims of political, economic and social discrimination in their countries of residence".

05 september 2001 19:37:00




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