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26/09/2016

EU apologises for slavery and colonialism

EU apologises for slavery and colonialism

The EU has agreed to the final document of a United Nations racism conference in Durban over the weekend, addressing the contentious issues of slavery and colonialism. The EU has reportedly agreed to apologise for the historical wrongs and promised to provide aid, promote investment and consider debt relief but did not accept any legal liability for slave trade.

The EU does not want to link its initiatives to provide aid and investment to any historic wrongs, related to slave trade. Europe and the US are afraid that any formal link would give grounds for a wave of law suits and demands to pay reparations.

Islamic states agreed to a compromise text on racism in the Middle East. Muslims had argued during the conference that Israel was an inherently racist state. The draft conclusions reportedly call for recognition of the “plight” of the Palestinian people but do not brand Israel a racist nation.

However, there has only been a verbal agreement at the conference, and African countries have yet to agree to a final text.

 

Background

The objectives of the conference were to review progress made against racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and to formulate concrete recommendations to further national, regional and international measures. However, the conference was diverted to the issues of past colonialism and slave trade by a coalition of African and Arab countries who also tried to get Israel condemned for its treatment of Palestinians.