Why US Must Attend Race Conference
This declaration that the transatlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity, was a culmination of centuries of work and suffering by our people to establish that the attack on our humanity by European nations was a crime
[Global: On Reparations Now]
Yesterday marked International Day for the Elimination of Racism, and Black human rights activists across the country held simultaneous press conferences to protest President Barack Obama’s threat to boycott the United Nations World Conference against Racism - Durban Review, being held in Geneva Switzerland next month.
U.S. State Department officials have demanded any reference to African slave reparations in UN official documents must be removed in order for them to participate.
The first World Conference against Racism met in Durban, South Africa in September 2001 and its final Declaration acknowledged 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 acknowledge that slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity and should always have been so, especially the transatlantic slave trade…”
This declaration that the transatlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity was a culmination of centuries of work and suffering by our people to establish that the attack on our humanity by European nations was a crime. A crime of such proportions that time cannot protect or shield its perpetrators from facing justice and its victims from obtaining reparations.
Now, eight years later, this April 20th thru 24th, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, the Durban II Review of the historic World Conference against Racism takes place. An international effort to review what progress has taken place and remains to be done to obtain justice, compensation and reconciliation for the victims of racism in general and the transatlantic slave trade in particular.
Once again, even with the first Black President of the United States, Barack Obama, at the helm, the United States and its European allies are attempting derail the process and reverse the correct verdicts of the 2001 World Conference.
Black human and civil rights activists are letting their voices be heard today nation wide including Philadelphia, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Charleston, St. Louis, Memphis, Washington DC, Dayton, Kansas City, and Fort Lauderdale.
We demand the full and unconditional participation of the United States in the conference. The United States was built on brutal racism and the exploitation of enslaved African people’s labor. Systemic and institutional racism continues to this very day.
We will continue to fight for justice for the crimes against humanity suffered by our people. They stole us, they sold us, they owe us.
Ajamu is a member of the December 12 Movement