COLONIALISM REPARATION

So that colonialisms of yesterday and today are not repeated tomorrow

United Nations - Colonialism

The United Nations was born in 1945 and they accompanied the movement of decolonization that developed in the second half of the twentieth century.

The Charter of the United Nations already provides in Chapter XI (Declaration regarding Non-Self-GoverningTerritories) article 73, point b, the obligation on UN members, which have or assume responsibility for the administration of territories whose population has not yet achieved full independence, to develop self-government of the people.

On December 14th 1960 the General Assembly adopts the resolution 1514 (XV) (Declaration on the Granting of Independence to colonial countries and peoples), which solemnly proclaims the need to promptly and unconditionally put an end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.

On December 21st 1965 the General Assembly adopts the resolution 2106 (XX) (International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination), reaffirming that the United Nations has condemned colonialism and all segregationist and discriminatory practices that accompany it, under whatever form and wherever they exist.

On November 22nd 1988 the General Assembly adopts the resolution 43/47 (International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism) declaring the period 1990-2000 the international decade for the eradication of colonialism.

On December 12nd 1997 the General Assembly adopts the resolution 52/111 (Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination and the convening of a world conference on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance) which convenes, after three decades pledged to combat racism and racial discrimination, the first world conference on the subject.

On December 8th 2000 the General Assembly adopts the resolution 55/146 (Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism) declaring the period 2001-2010 second international decade for the eradication of colonialism.

From August 31st to September 8th 2001 Durban, in South Africa, holds the World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in which many of the leaders in this debate urge recognition of the past and its damages.
Specifically, the representatives of Zambia, Tanzania, Lesotho, Venezuela, Angola, Jamaica, Mexico, Namibia and Burkina Faso officially request, in addition to the apology, the development of forms of reparations by the colonizing nations. After the conference the the Declaration and Program of Action of Durban is adopted, which at point 13 acknowledges that slavery and the slave trade, including the transatlantic slave trade, were appalling tragedies in the history of humanity not only because of their abhorrent barbarism but also in terms of their magnitude, organized nature and especially their negation of the essence of the victims, and further acknowledges that slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity and should always have been so, especially the transatlantic slave trade [...] At point 14 it recognizes that colonialism has led to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and that Africans and people of African descent, and people of Asian descent and indigenous peoples were victims of colonialism and continue to be victims of its consequences. It aknowledges the suffering caused by colonialism and affirms that, wherever and whenever it occurred, it must be condemned and its reoccurrence prevented [...] At point 99 it acknowledges and profoundly regrets the massive human suffering and the tragic plight of millions of men, women and children caused by slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, apartheid, colonialism and genocide, and calls upon States concerned to honour the memory of the victims of past tragedies and affirms that, wherever and whenever these occurred, they must be condemned and their recurrence prevented [...] At point 100 it acknowledges and profoundly regrets the untold suffering and evils inflicted on millions of men, women and children as a result of slavery, the slave trade, the transatlantic slave trade, apartheid, genocide and past tragedies. It further notes that some States have taken the initiative to apologize and have paid reparation, where appropriate, for grave and massive violations committed.

On August 12nd 2002, the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (now Human Rights Council Advisory Committee) adopts the resolution 2002/5 (Recognition of responsibility and reparation for massive and flagrant violations of human rights which constitute crimes against humanity and which took place during the period of slavery, colonialism and wars of conquest). At point 3 the resolution Requests all the countries concerned to acknowledge their historical responsibility and the consequences which follow from it to take initiatives which would assist, notably through debate on the basis of accurate information, in the raising of public awareness of the disastrous consequences of periods of slavery, colonialism and wars of conquest and the necessity of just reparation. At point 4 it recommends that the public recognition of the slave trade and slavery as crimes against humanity should include the establishment of a common date to commemorate every year, both in the United Nations and in all States, the abolition of the slave trade and slavery. At point 5 it emphasizes the importance for school curricula, university training and research, as well as the media, to place adequate emphasis on the recognition of the flagrant and massive human rights violations which occurred during the period of slavery, colonialism and wars of conquest, and to develop human rights training programmes. At point 6 it recommends that international, national or local initiatives, particularly those in the field of history and culture, involving museums, exhibitions, cultural activities and twinning projects, should help to contribute to this raising of collective awareness. At point 7 it considers that crimes against humanity and other flagrant and massive violations of human rights, to which statutes of limitation do not apply, should be prosecuted by the competent courts. At point 8 it requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to initiate, in a concerted fashion, a process of reflection on appropriate procedures for guaranteeing the implementation of the present resolution, in particular with regard to acknowledgement and reparation.

On December 10th 2010 the General Assembly adopts the resolution 65/119 (Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism) declaring the period 2011-2020 third international decade for the eradication of colonialism.

For further information:

United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories

Breaking the Silence Surrounding the Slave Trade

Minority Death Match: Jews, Blacks and The "Post Racial Presidency"

Black delegation attends Geneva conference to fight for reparations

Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the United Nations

International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Mandela Day Speech at United Nations

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