Greens lead on first successful motion to demand government reparations for slavery

15 July 2020

A Green Party councillor has lead the way on the first successful motion to demand government reparations for slavery. 

Lambeth Council this evening [Wednesday, 15 July] passed a motion calling on the UK government to establish a commission to study the impact of UK involvement in the transatlantic trafficking of enslaved Africans and to make reparations. [1]

The motion, initiated by Green Party Councillor Scott Ainslie [2], is believed to be the first such motion to be passed by a local authority. Green councillors in Bristol and Islington have also raised the issue in what is expected to become a national campaign.

Ainslie, who worked with the social movement Stop The Maangamizi campaign [3] and the ruling group on Lambeth Council to ensure the motion would pass, said it was vital the government took seriously the impact slavery has had on current racial inequalities in the UK.

He said: “This is an historic motion, and long overdue. The repercussions of hundreds of years of slavery are still all too visible in the inequalities and prejudice which exist in our society today.

“I was delighted that we were able to work together and cross party on this important motion calling on the national government to act. I hope other councils throughout England and the devolved administrations will follow this lead, so we can begin to rid this country from the shameful legacy of its colonial past.”

The motion draws direct links between the legacy of slavery and current issues of racial discrimination. It states:

“The legacy of slavery is responsible for ingraining racial inequality within Western society, that manifests itself both in overt acts of violent racism, such as the death of George Floyd at the hands of American police, Black deaths in police, prison, psychiatric custody and immigration detention in the UK, or in institutional failings to provide sufficient support and care for Black communities, such as the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on Black people in the UK.”

Greens of Colour chairperson Azzees Minott said:

“Black people have had to work hard to contribute, be great leaders, curators and innovators in spite of the unequal conditions we have had to deal with for centuries. I'm glad that the Green Party has worked with campaigners to lead the way and address the social injustices that Black people have had to live with for far too long. This motion is the start of something new and it is really exciting.”

The motion calls on the UK government to establish a commission to study the impact of UK involvement in the transatlantic trafficking of enslaved Africans. 

It also calls for the UK government to establish an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice to commit the UK government to atone and make reparations to the descendants of enslaved African people, in accordance with international human rights law. Lambeth Council will also commit to supporting a more inclusive historical curriculum in schools.

ENDS

Notes

1

The Council Meeting and full motion text is publicly available: https://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=142&MId=13766

2

Scott Ainslie is one of five Green Party Councillors in Lambeth, and former MEP for London. The Green Party is the official opposition group on Lambeth Council.

3

Since 2015, the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign (The Maangamizi is the African Holocaust of chattel, colonial and neocolonial forms of enslavement) in association with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee have been organising the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March. The campaign presented the Stop the Maangamizi Petition to the Office of the UK Prime Minister calling for the establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice: https://stopthemaangamizi.com/2015/10/12/about-the-commission-of-inquiry-appcitarj/






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