'Restore dignity for people of African descent'
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith.

JAMAICA'S push for reparation for transatlantic chattel slavery has been moved into the United Nations (UN) General Assembly by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith.

Delivering Jamaica's policy statement at the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Johnson Smith argued that a shared commitment to achieve progress, prosperity and sustainability for all cannot be fulfilled until, "we definitively close the chapter on slavery and its legacies in our global history".

"The residual impact of the immorality of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade has lingered for far too long, and justice and accountability are long overdue.

"The systemic imbalances caused by centuries of exploitation constitute the foundation of the persistent under-development, which countries like Jamaica have worked hard to overcome," said Johnson Smith.

"Jamaica, therefore, reaffirms its determination to further the call for the international recognition of reparatory justice as a necessary path to complete healing, restoration of dignity, and progress for people of African descent.

"Together, we must stride confidently forward in good faith, building on the lessons of that horrific past, and moving purposefully towards a common future. Furthermore, Jamaica supports the call for an extension of the International Decade for People of African Descent as insufficient progress has been made to address racial injustices worldwide," added Johnson Smith.

A recent report on reparation for transatlantic chattel slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean has suggested a US$108-trillion debt owed by the perpetrators.

The report, titled 'Reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery in the Americas', was produced by a team led by International Court judge, Jamaican Patrick Robinson and says that Britain alone owes the descendants of the enslaved in 31 countries in the Caribbean, Central America and North America US$24 trillion, of which US$9.5 trillion is owed to Jamaica.

It states that Spain has a debt of US$17 trillion, of which Jamaica is entitled to about $1 trillion; France owes US$9 trillion; Portugal, US$20 trillion, including US$4 trillion to Brazil; and the Netherlands owes about US$5 trillion to its regional colonies, including Suriname.

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