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Comissiong calls for Global help to set up Slavery Tribunal

Geneva (WIREDJA): Barbados' ambassador to CARICOM, and Deputy Chairman of the National Task Force on Reparations, Ambassador David Comissiong, has again called on the United Nations to establish a new international special tribunal to seek reparations for transatlantic slavery and its legacies in today's society.

By Calvin G. Brown

   With the proposal to establish a Special International Tribunal, the movement aims to create a dedicated platform for addressing reparations claims, acknowledging that existing international courts lack the specialized framework required for such complex adjudications.

    This initiative seeks not only to quantify reparations remedies but also to serve as a moral and legal acknowledgment of the atrocities committed during centuries of colonial exploitation.

   Support for such a facility has been building among African and Caribbean nations for the creation of such a tribunal to deal with atrocities dating back to transatlantic slavery.

   For over four centuries at least 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped, forcibly transported thousands of nautical miles, mainly by European ships and merchants and sold into chattel slavery in Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.

   Those who survived the brutal voyage ended up toiling on plantations in the Americas, mostly in Brazil and the Caribbean, while Europe, Britain, and the United States profited from their labor.

   In a powerful, historic speech at the United Nations Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in Geneva, Ambassador Comissiong told the global audience in a clear message: reparations extend far beyond financial compensation; they are a revolutionary call for justice, equity, and the reformation of global societies.

   Comissiong unveiled a dynamic and transformative proposal for addressing the centuries-old scars left by Native Genocide and African Enslavement.

   He outlined the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) ambitious reparations campaign, a journey embarked upon by CARICOM Heads of Government to confront and seek reparatory justice from Western European nations and institutions responsible for historic crimes against humanity.

   «We are striving for a worldwide transformation,» Comissiong asserted, highlighting the campaign’s aim to reshape centuries-old relationships marred by discrimination, exploitation, and domination.

   Rooted in a deep history of colonialism and systemic racial discrimination, the campaign seeks not only acknowledgment and compensation but also a profound global shift towards justice and equality in all its forms -social, economic, and environmental.

   To further advance the cause, Ambassador Comissiong proposed four pivotal agenda items: the creation of a Special International Tribunal to adjudicate reparations claims, a collective effort to reform the United Nations System, full support for the revolutionary «Bridgetown Initiative,» and unwavering solidarity with Haiti as it seeks to overcome its crises.

   Each proposal represents a step toward rectifying historical injustices and building a fairer world order.

   As Ambassador Comissiong’s speech resonated across the hall, it was clear that the CARICOM Reparations Campaign is more than a pursuit of financial redress; it is a clarion call for global transformation.

   The global acknowledgment of the CARICOM reparations campaign as a formidable force is a testament to the unyielding efforts of Ambassador Comissiong and countless others who have championed the cause of reparative justice.

   Moreover, the call for a fundamental reform of the United Nations System resonates with the campaign’s broader vision for a global order rooted in equity and justice.

   By challenging the imperialist stronghold over international institutions, CARICOM advocates for a world where nations, regardless of their historical, racial, or economic backgrounds, have equal footing on the global stage.

   The Bridgetown Initiative, emerging from Barbados in 2022, exemplifies this pursuit, proposing radical changes to the global economic and financial order to address the disparities that have long disadvantaged black and brown nations.

   Yet, perhaps the most poignant aspect of Ambassador Comissiong’s address was the spotlight on Haiti.

   As the first Black republic in the world, Haiti’s struggle is emblematic of the broader fight for reparative justice within the Caribbean. The country’s ongoing efforts to navigate through its political, social, and economic crises underscore the urgent need for global solidarity and support.

   Comissiong’s appeal for the international community to stand with Haiti reflects a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of the region’s historical and contemporary struggles for justice and dignity.

   According to TAG24, «Haitians inspired oppressed peoples around the world when they rose up against European enslavers to assert their independence, putting their lives on the line to win true liberty, equality, and fraternity.»

   The movement is a clarion call to the world to recognize the enduring impacts of colonialism and slavery and to take concrete steps toward rectifying these historic wrongs.

   It is a call for a global awakening to the principles of reparative justice -principles that demand not only acknowledgment and compensation but also the transformation of the structures and relationships that perpetuate inequality and injustice.

   Ambassador Comissiong’s speech in Geneva was not merely a presentation of a campaign but a powerful declaration of a global movement’s moral and political ascendancy. It underscored the imperative of collective action and the unbreakable spirit of those fighting for justice.

   The CARICOM reparations campaign, fortified by a global coalition, stands as a beacon of hope and a testament to the possibility of a more just and equitable world.

   The path forward is fraught with challenges, but the resolve and solidarity of the reparations movement promise a future where reparative justice is not just an ideal, but a reality.

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