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UN Chief Urges Reparations For Transatlantic Slave Trade Legacy

UNITED Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres made a compelling appeal on Monday for reparations to confront the lasting repercussions of the transatlantic slave trade, underscoring its role in perpetuating systemic racism in today’s society.

Guterres emphasised the urgency of addressing historical injustices, stating, ‘We call for reparatory justice frameworks to help overcome generations of exclusion and discrimination.’

The transatlantic slave trade, spanning five centuries from the 15th to the 19th century, saw at least 12.5 million Africans forcibly trafficked, enduring harrowing voyages before being subjected to slavery. Guterres highlighted how this traumatic legacy laid the groundwork for enduring systems of discrimination rooted in white supremacy.


In commemorating the UN International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery, Guterres underscored the need for comprehensive measures to confront this dark chapter in history.

The movement for reparations gained significant momentum following a September UN report recommending financial compensation as a means of rectifying past atrocities.

Hilary Beckles, Chair of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, echoed this sentiment, asserting, ‘This is the movement that will signal, finally, the collective victory of humanity, of good over evil.’

The CARICOM Reparations Commission, tasked with seeking reparations from former colonial powers, advocates for diverse forms of redress, including debt cancellations and support for addressing public health crises.

Verene Shepherd, Director of the Centre for Reparation Research at the University of the West Indies, emphasized the need for former colonial powers to acknowledge their historical responsibility. Shepherd stated, ‘It’s time for Britain and other former and current colonial powers to own up to their responsibility.’

The Repair Campaign, spearheading socio-economic reparation plans for CARICOM nations, released a survey revealing significant support in the United Kingdom for reparations. The poll showed widespread agreement on the necessity of financial compensation and formal apologies to the Caribbean.

As the global movement for reparatory justice continues to gain traction, Guterres’s call for reparations underscores the imperative of addressing historical injustices and building a more equitable future.

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