THE TRANS ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE: A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY
By Dr. Conrad W. Worrill (March 15, 2001)
Over the last two years, the National Black United Front (NBUF) has joined forces with the December 12th Movement in organizing a delegation of Africans in America to attend the upcoming United Nations World Conference Against Racism. This conference will be held in Durban, South Africa from August 31st to September 7, 2001.
The December 12th Movement International Secretariat, the International Association Against Torture, North South XXI has official Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) status with the United Nations. Over the last decade, this group has committed much of its organizing efforts to participate in the United Nations Human Rights Commission by presenting numerous issues that impact African people in America. They have been NBUF’s eyes and ears at the U.N.
As Atty. Roger Wareham of the December 12th Movement recently revealed in an article circulated on the internet, "Since 1997, when the U.N. agreed to hold this World Conference, the United States, Canada, and Western Europe (the WEO Group of countries) have done all they can to prevent it from succeeding."
In the spring of 1998, at the African Group meeting during the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, a Resolution was drafted identifying the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade as a Crime Against Humanity. The United States used all of its influence and blocked the resolution. However, this did not stop the momentum throughout the African World to pursue this resolution’s becoming an official position of the United Nations World Conference Against Racism.
At the African Regional Preparatory Conference, for the World Conference Against Racism, held in Dakar, Senegal (January 22-24, 2001), the African Ministers developed what has been called the "Dakar Declaration." In their deliberations, they affirmed, in part, the following:
International law supports the position that the enslavement of Africans was a crime against humanity. The Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal defined crimes against humanity in this manner: "Murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population… whether or not in violation of the domestic law of the country where perpetuated."
The African Reparations Movement explains that, "Historians and their experts can show, without difficulty, how the invasion of African territories, the mass capture of Africans, the horrors of the middle passage, the chattelization of Africans in America, and the extermination of the language and culture of the transported Africans, constituted violations of all these international laws." Thus, the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade was a Crime Against Humanity and, it is clear, African people are owed reparations throughout the world.
Again, as Atty. Wareham explains, "Before the U.N. World Conferences are actually held, they are preceded by PrepCom (Preparatory Committee meetings) in the various geographical regions of the world where the actual content of the final document and program of action is worked out. All of the regional PreComs are over. In Geneva, Switzerland, a working group meeting held March 6th –9th to consider a Draft Declaration (the Durban Declaration) and tried to resolve a dispute about whether compensatory relief (i.e. reparations) should even be considered as a theme of the World Conference. This was only an issue because of U. S. and Western European opposition." The dispute was not settled and another meeting will be held in May in Geneva.
A recent New York Times article revealed, "A conference on racism this summer could be one of the most explosive meetings this organization (United Nations) has ever held, with moves afoot to cast globalization as a racial issue and to demand reparations for the slave trade and colonialism."
For more than a decade, the December 12th Movement International Secretariat has fought in defense of the human rights of African people at the United Nations, in both Switzerland and New York. During this time, they have come to help us understand that while we, as African people, may not recognize the importance of the international agency to the progress of our struggle, but the United States and its allies are crystal clear about it.
NBUF agrees with the December 12th Movement that we must step up our organizing efforts to attend this historic World Conference Against Racism. Our presence will definitely have an impact, a huge impact!
National Black United Front (NBUF)
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