Reparations for the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Historical Enslavement: Linking Past Atrocities with Contemporary Victim Populations
26 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2017 Last revised: 2 Apr 2019
Date Written: July 21, 2017
The debate around reparations for the transatlantic slave trade has been discussed for centuries with no end in sight. This article does not intend to cover the historical or political aspects of this debate, but instead to shed more light on the legal options with regards to reparations. In particular this article examines the role of politically negotiated reparations in transitional societies and the limits of avenues of redress in international law. Key to such discussions is the identification of eligible victims and appropriate measures of redress from responsible actors. With the so-called ‘transatlantic slave trade’ the passage of time has strained legal principles of causation to identify those victimised by atrocities of the past. Instead this article looking at the CARICOM claim argues that reparations beyond the international law construct can be politically negotiated to at least acknowledge the past and offer some symbolic measures of redress to victimised populations of transatlantic enslavement.
Keywords: reparations, transatlantic slave trade, historic injustices, slavery, colonialism
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation