2023 Inaugural Conference of the All-party Parliamentary Group for Afrikan Reparations Makes History
For the first time, 95 speakers, over 500 attendees, and international participants from around the world convened over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd for the Inaugural Conference of the All-Party Parliamentary Group For Afrikan Reparations (APPGAR) in the United Kingdom. The UK Conference gained international support for the APPGAR amplification of the collective global Afrikan voice for Reparations in the British Houses of Parliament. It also revived the connections of Reparations to the International Pan-Afrikan liberation struggle, and made a declaration in support of the planned 2024 Afrika-Europe Dialogue Conference on the legacies of the 1884-1885 Berlin Conference to be held in Germany, and plans for the next APPGAR Conference on the 26th-27th October 2024
The UK Conference is being held up as a challenging success by the co-organisers and the APPGAR Secretariat for concretising a serious discourse and efforts to defend Afrikan Reparations as a sacred right of indigenous and other Afrikan communities still experiencing the legacies of chattel enslavement that are reinforcing coloniality in its current stage of neocolonialism. The Conference sought to explore and discuss the many approaches to reparations by various Afrikan and other communities as well as state and non-state actors around the world. This comes at a critical time when Afrikan Liberation struggles are escalating, and rising discrimination, repression, and Afriphobia are being promoted by repressive Governments, corporations, and their agents.
Plenary speakers such as Professor Maulana Karenga, Professor Kimani Nehusi, Esther Stanford-Xosei, Professor Verene Shepherd, and contributors on panels from across Afrika, Abya Yala (or the Americas), and Asia discussed the importance of Reparations to topics including Pan-Afrikanism, Geopolitics and International Relations, Political Economy and Social Enterprising, the Environment, Women, Community Regeneration, Cultural Rights, Law, Education, Media and more.
Space was also held for discussions by Heirs and Allies on true engagement and the historic and current role for internationalist solidarity as pertinent to Afrikan Reparations and Planet Repairs.
Opening remarks also gave tribute to MKO Abiola and "the late great" Bernie Grant MP, the first self-identifying Afrikan Member of the British Houses of Parliament who championed Afrikan Reparations and supported the efforts of liberation movements in Afrika and around the world.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Afrikan Reparations (APPGAR) was formed in 2021, with a secretariat comprising representatives of the African Foundation For Development (AFFORD), the Maangamizi Educational Trust (MET), and the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Youth Forum (PARYF). It is chaired by Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham. The weekend event demonstrated wide interest in Afrikan Reparations from different sections of society including Faith Groups, NGOs, cultural institutions, and educational institutions.
The Conference adopted an official statement, which among other things reiterated the APPGAR's support for an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ). A declaration by the APPGAR secretariat announced the development of the historic gathering into a permanently functioning International Standing Conference with its panels to be assisted by community support task action groups continuing active work on areas of major interest to the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR). As such, the APPGAR and its International Standing Conference will further develop its engagements with communities and networks particularly of other Reparations Movements of Colonised Peoples and New Abolitionist formations contributing to building the Peoples Reparations International Movement (PRIM). Co-organisers insist that the APPGAR should be a space for all peoples to come, learn, and work together on matters of Afrikan Reparations that are relevant to commonly shared issues of Planet Repairs.
Communities, organisations and individuals are being invited to contact the APPGAR Secretariat HERE to indicate readiness to work on various areas of Afrikan Reparations. Willing participants can indicate their interest in supporting particular Standing Conference Panels by contacting the APPGAR Secretariat and specific Panel Convenors.
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP, said in the opening remarks of the Conference:
"In the past few years we've seen momentum grow surrounding Reparations, but we cannot forget those that have long fought for reparations, long before I was born. And today we are here to ensure that, as these voices get louder the grassroots do not get drowned out."
Onyekachi Wambu, African Foundation For Development(AFFORD), said:
“The Inaugural Conference of the All-Party Parliamentary Group For Afrikan Reparations was a historic gathering of the pan-African reparations movement, 30 years after the late great Bernie Grant, MP opened up the space for discussions on the issue. The conference declaration shapes a multi-front reparations agenda across a number of thematic areas, led by specialists in those areas. AFFORD welcomes the support and backing of the broad movement in its focus on including issues of reparatory justice in development and aid policies, as well as in the restitution of African ancestral remains and artefacts held in Western museums and cultural institutions.”
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Maangamizi Educational Trust (MET) said:
"As an Afrikan Caribbean woman long active in reparations-movement-building, I have been concerned about the state and non-state sponsored counterinsurgency attempts to ‘Caribbeanise’ and ‘Americanise’ as well as NGO-ize what has always been a Pan-Afrikan Reparations Movement. This inaugural APPGAR conference made a significant contribution to repairing the distorted approach, by some, to privileging isolated ‘regional approaches’ to redress and restoring recognition of the Pan-Afrikan nature of the struggle for reparations by Afrikan people on the continent and in the Diaspora. It also built on the 1993 Abuja Reparations Conference Declaration and organising processes which emphasised the necessity for the united action of Afrikans worldwide to redress the geopolitical power imbalances that have denied Afrikan people our right to a remedy, full repair and holistic intergenerational justice; emphasizing the centrality of the All-Party Parliamentary Commission for Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice as an equitable and participatory democratic mechanism to assist in advancing this sacred cause."
Online records can be viewed via Ubuntudunia TV.
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