Mauritius wants compensation for descendants of ex-slaves

Port Louis- Mauritius (PANA) -- Foreign minister Anil Gayan of Mauritius wants an international fund established to compensate descendants of persons who were enslaved.
Gayan made the suggestion at a brainstorming session on the upcoming World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance scheduled 28 August in Durban.
Gayan said the job was not easy, as several questions had to be put: "Who will compensate whom? By how much? Who can be eligible to such compensation? What has to be done with African leaders who have collaborated with slave-traffickers? What policy has got to be adopted as regards contemporary slavery? Who will be compensated in Mauritius and who'll pay? Will Indian indentured labour be compensated?" He said whatever be the final outcome of the conference, "in Mauritius, we consider that the past is the past but we should not forget it.
" The minister emphasised that people need to draw lessons from it and try to obtain from all those countries that have benefited from the slave trade a commitment to help developing countries in health, education and other sectors of great importance.
Meanwhile, a local socio-political party wrote Gayan urging him to ensure that the question of compensation because of slavery, colonisation and apartheid be discussed during the conference in South Africa.
The group called for the creation of a post-slavery fund to improve education, housing and health in poor regions.
It also suggested the introduction of an anti-slavery levy on companies belonging to rich people.

18 august 2001 17:26:00

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