Caribbean Ambassador Calls For International Tribunal to Seek Reparations

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A high-level Caribbean ambassador has called for the establishment of an international special tribunal to seek reparations for transatlantic slavery.

David Comissiong, the Barbados ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and a well-known reparations advocate, called for the special tribunal for reparations during the third session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent (PFPAD) in Geneva on Wednesday (April 17), per Reuters.

Comissiong said the tribunal was necessary as he believes there isn't an international court properly equipped for dealing with reparations claims of such magnitude. However, the tribunal would require a "positive decision" by the U.N. General Assembly, Comissiong said.

"Let us resolve to put in the international advocacy work to successfully deliver the creation of this critical institution at the U.N. General Assembly," he said. "Let us all rally around the forum and make this happen."

The Caribbean ambassador's comments come after United Nations chief Antonio Guterres called for reparations over the transatlantic slave trade "to help overcome generations of exclusion and discrimination" amid the U.N. International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery in March. Experts say at least 12.5 million Africans were kidnapped, forcibly transported by European ships and merchants, and sold into slavery between the 15th and 19th centuries.

During Wednesday's PFPAD session, representatives from Guyana, Venezuela, and other nations echoed Comissiong's call for the tribunal.

Guterres reiterated his support for reparations in a video message at the opening of the PFPAD session on Tuesday (April 16).

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