Inside Story

Slavery reparations: Is money the answer?

We examine the legality of Caribbean leaders' plan to sue European nations for problems stemming from slavery.

Last updated: 11 Mar 2014 22:01
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Caribbean leaders met in St Vincent on Monday to discuss a landmark legal claim to sue Britain and seven countries in Europe for problems which they say can be traced back to the slave trade.

The European states targeted are Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

The leaders have adopted a 10-point plan demanding, among other things, European aid in strengthening the region's public health, and educational and cultural institutions such as museums and research centres. The plan also seeks debt cancellation and an apology from former colonisers.

Caricom, as the political grouping of 15 Caribbean countries is known, announced in July that it intended to seek reparations for slavery and the genocide of native peoples. They created the Caribbean Reparations Commission to push the issue and present their recommendations to political leaders.

The idea of the countries that benefited from slavery paying some form of reparations has been a decades-long quest but only recently has it gained serious momentum in the Caribbean.

But is monetary reparation the answer?

Presenter: Mike Hanna

Guests: Richard Stein: partner at Leigh Day, the firm representing the Caribbean states

Aidan McQuade: director of Anti-Slavery International

Kevin Bales: professor of contemporary slavery, Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull


Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.
join our mailing list