UN Forum Calls for Reparations and Funding for People of African Descent

The UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent calls for reparations for slavery and colonialism, with Brazil, Guyana, and Saint Lucia leading efforts to address racial inequalities and promote social justice.

author-image
Shivani Chauhan
Updated On
New Update
UN Forum Calls for Reparations and Funding for People of African Descent

UN Forum Calls for Reparations and Funding for People of African Descent

The third session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on People of African Descent opened in Geneva, Switzerland with repeated calls for reparations for the legacies of enslavement and colonialism. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated that racism is based on centuries of enslavement and colonialism, and said reparations should be part of efforts to tackle the issues.

The forum suggested that a special tribunal should be established to address reparations, and a Howard University law professor called on UN member states to fund the forum. The idea of paying reparations has a long history and is gaining momentum worldwide.

Brazil's Minister of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco, participated in the forum with three main missions: to advance debates towards proclaiming a second International Decade for People of African Descent for 2025-2034, to promote member-states' adhesion to the 18th Sustainable Development Goal on racial and ethnic equality , and to integrate the group designing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of People of African Descent.

Guyana supported calls for a second International Decade for People of African Descent, as confirmed by Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Oneidgge Walrond. Guyana remains committed to CARICOM's position of demanding reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans and has established a National Reparations Committee within the framework of a 10-point plan agreed by CARICOM.

Saint Lucia's Ambassador, Dr. June Soomer, has been appointed as the Chair of the UN Permanent Forum for People of African Descent. Her appointment marks a significant moment in the global conversation on racial equality and social justice. As Chair, Dr. Soomer has outlined a comprehensive agenda to dismantle systemic racism, address historical injustices, and promote initiatives to build historical awareness, decolonize education systems, empower women of African descent, and strengthen linkages between Africa and the Caribbean.

The United Kingdom expressed its commitment to addressing negative ethnic and racial disparities, particularly for those of African and Caribbean descent. The government published the Inclusive Britain action plan to tackle long-standing disparities in health, education, employment, and the justice system. While recognizing the appalling atrocity of slavery in its history, the UK believes the most effective response is to ensure current and future generations learn from it and work towards establishing a fairer world today.

Why this matters: The calls for reparations and funding at the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent highlight the ongoing global efforts to address the legacies of slavery and colonialism. The forum's discussions and recommendations have the potential to shape policies and initiatives aimed at promoting racial equality and social justice for people of African descent worldwide.

The third session of the UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent continues to build momentum in advancing the racial justice agenda. The forum's discussions on themes such as education, culture, reparations, economic justice, and sustainable development aim to contribute to the political, economic, and social inclusion of people of African descent and the promotion of their rights worldwide. As stated by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, reparations should be part of the efforts to tackle the issues stemming from centuries of enslavement and colonialism.

Key Takeaways

  • UN Permanent Forum on People of African Descent calls for reparations.
  • Forum suggests establishing a special tribunal to address reparations.
  • Brazil aims to proclaim a second International Decade for People of African Descent.
  • Guyana supports calls for a second International Decade and reparations.
  • UK commits to addressing racial disparities but rejects reparations.