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The Global Reparations Movement: The Greatest Political Tide of the 21st Century

Statement by the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC)

The CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) welcomes recent developments in the movement for reparatory justice, especially in the Caribbean and across the United States, and the wide media coverage of the movement in the aftermath of the globalization of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

Rastafari, civil society organizations, and prominent public figures in the Caribbean like Hon. Michael Lester “Mike” Henry and Hon. Olivia Grange in Jamaica, Hon. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Hon. Mia Mottley of Barbados and Hon. Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda, have consistently emphasised the urgent need for reparations and recompense, especially for the crime of chattel slavery. 

In the wake of these developments, the CRC reiterates its demands to the European states that colonized the region, to immediately begin reparations negotiations with CARICOM.

The CRC is encouraged by the progress being made in the United States to bring the HR40 bill to the floor of the US House of Representatives for a vote in the weeks ahead. The CRC also notes the results of a recent public poll conducted by the Congressional Black Caucus which shows reparations as the number one issue on the minds of the African American electorate.

The UN Human Rights Council’s recent landmark report calls on Member States of the United Nations to pay reparations to the countries and communities that have been victimized by centuries of systemic racism and by the ongoing legacies and harms of African enslavement. 

The global movement for reparatory justice is witnessing significant momentum outside of the United States, particularly in Europe, Africa, and the Latin American regions in this International Decade for People of African Descent and the 20th anniversary this year of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA). 

Reparations for African enslavement, Indigenous People’s genocide, deceptive indentureship and other colonial atrocities, continue to resonate across the region. The CRC’s Ten Point Plan remains a crucial blueprint for sustainable social and economic development throughout the Caribbean.

The reparations movement across the Caribbean and the globe is a “big tent” movement. There is enough space inside this tent for a wide variety of reparations initiatives, projects, and currents, all of which agree on a common objective and goal—justice and restitution for historical crimes of slavery.

The righteous reparations messages are resonating powerfully across the world. Reparations initiatives and projects in states and municipalities across the United States are mushrooming in the wake of the horrific murder of George Floyd in the US, ironically on Africa Day 2020, and the massive street demonstrations which followed, led by the Black Lives Matter Movement.

Major universities and religious denominations in the US, Britain and Europe are today involved in a wide range of reparatory justice projects.

Reparations initiatives are currently underway in Namibia and Tanzania in Southern Africa and reparation groups have been established in several countries of the Americas, most notably Colombia, Brazil, Panama, and Costa Rica. The CRC applauds these initiatives and stands in solidarity with the civil society advocates leading these initiatives.

The Reparations Movement has, indeed, become the greatest political, social justice and human rights campaign of the 21st Century, uniting its advocates across all geographic spaces and building solidarity bridges where colonialism sought to break them. 

Contact: Don Rojas


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