14 Caribbean nations sue European countries for slavery reparations

Saint Vincent and Grenadines' Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaks during the 68th United Nations

Saint Vincent and Grenadines’ Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaks during the 68th United Nations

Lawsuits seek reparations from Britain, France, Netherlands for their roles in Atlantic slave trade
Fourteen Caribbean nations are suing the governments of the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands for reparations over what the plaintiffs say is the lingering legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.

In a speech Friday at United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves said the European nations must pay for their deeds.

“The awful legacy of these crimes against humanity – a legacy which exists today in our Caribbean – ought to be repaired for the developmental benefit of our Caribbean societies and all our peoples,” Gonsalves said. “The European nations must partner in a focused, especial way with us to execute this repairing.”

The lawsuits – which are likely to amount to a lengthy battle – are being brought by The Caribbean Community, or Caricom, a regional organization that focuses mostly on issues such as economic integration. They will be brought to the U.N.’s International Court of Justice, based in The Hague in the Netherlands. It is not immediately clear when court proceedings will begin.

The countries will focus on Britain for its role in slavery in the English-speaking Caribbean, France for slavery in Haiti and the Netherlands for Suriname, a Caricom member and former Dutch colony on the northeastern edge of South America.

They have hired British law firm Leigh Day, which waged a successful fight for compensation for hundreds of Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government as they fought for the liberation of their country during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and 1960s.

According to Martyn Day, a lawyer from the firm, the first step will be to seek a negotiated settlement with the governments of France, Britain and the Netherlands along the lines of the British agreement in June to issue a statement of regret and award compensation of about $21.5 million to the surviving Kenyans.

“I think they would undoubtedly want to try and see if this can be resolved amicably,” Day said of the Caribbean countries, speaking to The Associated Press in July. “But I think the reason they have hired us is that they want to show that they mean business.”

Caribbean countries Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda already have national commissions on reparations, and each country that does not have a commission has agreed to set one up. The 14 Caricom nations voted unanimously to wage the joint campaign, saying it would be more ambitious than any previous attempt.

In the United States, the idea of reparations has surfaced and disappeared numerous times.

After the end of the Civil War, about 400,000 acres of land along the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coasts was taken from former slave owners and set aside for freed slaves, who would each be granted a 40-acre plot of land to farm and make a living. It was the first attempt in the U.S. at reparations, and was reversed by President Andrew Johnson after President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

Most recently in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama said he did not support reparations for the descendants of slaves, which put him at odds with the NAACP, The Urban League, the SCLC and about two dozen members of Congress who sponsored legislation to create a commission on slavery.

The House issued an apology for slavery in July 2008, and the Senate followed suit in 2009, but neither mentioned reparations. 

Caribbean officials have not specified a monetary figure for the lawsuits, but Gonsalves and Verene Shepherd, chairwoman of the national reparations commission in Jamaica, both mentioned the fact that Britain at the time of emancipation in 1834 paid 20 million pounds – the equivalent of 200 billion pounds today – to British planters in the Caribbean.

“Our ancestors got nothing,” Shepherd said. “They got their freedom and they were told ‘Go develop yourselves.'”

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Barack Obama Says He Hasn’t Smoked A Cigarette In Years, ‘I’m Scared Of My Wife’

APSep 23, 2013
NEW YORK — President Barack Obama says he hasn’t had a smoke in years – thanks in no small part to first lady Michelle Obama.

Obama was chatting privately with a U.N. official Monday and said he hoped the official had quit smoking. The exchange was caught on camera and aired on CNN.After the official appeared to ask Obama about his own cigarette use, Obama said he hadn’t had a cigarette in probably six years.

He added, with a broad grin, “That’s because I’m scared of my wife.”

Obama has acknowledged over the years struggling with tobacco use. Mrs. Obama said in 2011 that her husband had finally kicked the habit.

Monday’s exchange came on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

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Tunisian Teens Are Helping Out the Syrian Rebels with ‘Sexual Jihad’

In the heart of the Syrian civil war, there is a group of young Tunisian women doing everything they can to aid Syrian opposition fighters. They are determined to overthrow the cruel regime of Bashar al Assad with one sexually-satisfied rebel at a time.

“They have sexual relations with 20, 30, 100 [rebels]”  Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi ben Jeddou claimed in an address before the Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly on Thursday, explaining that the girls are coming home pregnant. “They come back bearing the fruit of sexual contacts in the name of sexual jihad and we are silent doing nothing and standing idle,” he added.

What this sounds like is a modern-day flashback to “comfort women”, the term given to women and girls forced into prostitution and sexually servicing the men of the Japanese Imperial army during World War II. Historians estimate that nearly three-fourths of these women died, and many were left infertile due to trauma and disease. Ben Jeddou  “did not say how many Tunisian women were thought to have gone to Syria for such a purpose, although media reports have said hundreds have done so,” the AFP reports.

Local media reports also say that a startling number of these sexual jihadists are young girls. Earlier this month, the controversial Salafist Saudi Sheikh Mohamed al-Arifi’s  issued “a fatwa that permits fighters to marry few hours with girls as young as 14,” the Al Bawaba news site reported.  Mohamed al Arifi’s fatwa explains the call for young girls. But it also explains how how religion can be used to justify all this sex.

“Jihad al-nikah, permitting extramarital sexual relations with multiple partners, is considered by some hardline Sunni Muslim Salafists as a legitimate form of holy war, ” the AFP reports. And Al Bawaba adds, “Hezbollah – Lebanon’s party of God – has reportedly promoted the practice of temporary marriage in the past, notably during the July war with Israel in 2006.”

The question that remains is if this is prostitution and exploitation of teenage girls, or are they autonomous women really supporting Syria. Jeddou and the Interior Ministry believe this is closer to prostitution and a reason to stop Tunisians from traveling to Syria. He explained that these women are the reason the country has banned around 6,000 Tunisians from traveling to Syria since March and that they’ve arrested 86 people involved with “networks” involving sexual jihadists, Al Arabiya reports.

World News 21/9/2013


The Global Echo

21:50 UTC

The Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, has released a statement saying that at least 39 people were killed and 150 injured in the attack on Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi by a Somali militant group with ties to al-Qaida. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack via Twitter two hours ago.

Mr Kenyatta also told Reuters that he had lost close family members in the attack but that Kenya would defeat these terrorists.

Al-Shabab had threatened an attack on Nairobi in revenge of Kenyan presence in Somalia. Kenyan troops were serving as peacekeepers in Somalia. Seven hostages are said to be being held in a supermarket that five gunmen have barricaded themselves into.

In Scotland, there is said to have been at least 20,000 people at a pro-Independence rally in Edinburgh today. Scotland’s First Minister said that an independent Scotland would disarm nuclear weapons and keep Royal Mail public.

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Ibori Assets Confiscation Trial Begins, Oando Implicated,Ribadu to Testify

Reuter’s news agency reported that a three-week confiscation hearing began at London’s Southwark Crown Court yesterday during which prosecutors will present evidence of James Ibori’s assets and seek court orders to have them seized.

A British prosecutor also said that the former governor of Delta State who was convicted of corruption charges and is currently serving a jail term in London hid some of his assets in Oando Plc.

According to Vanguard News,the prosecutor, Sasha Wass told the court, yesterday, that money passed from the company’s accounts to Ibori’s Swiss account.

Oando is not a party to the case, although a British lawyer was in court representing the company’s interests.

Meanwhile, crown prosecutors have also said that they would call as a witness former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, concerning the $15 million bribe he was offered.

Ibori was absent in court yesterday, according to his legal team, their client had no legal obligation to be in court, saying it is but a “confiscation of assets” hearing and as such, he has the right to stay away since his team was there looking after his case.

The case was adjourned till 10.00 a.m Tuesday morning.

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Niger-Delta Community Rejects Shell’s Offer of Compensation for Oil Spillage

The people of Bodo village in Niger-Delta have said NO to a financial settlement offer from Royal Dutch Shell. According to Ventures Africa, apparently, Shell made them an offer of settlement for the oil spillage that has impoverished the little community.

Shell, as we know, is one of the foremost oil exploration companies in Nigeria, and it made an offer of N7.5billion (or $46.3million) offer to the Bodo community people (estimated at a population of 15,000 people) for a pipeline spillage which it has claimed responsibility for.

If the international oil firm thought this was a sufficient act of goodwill towards the community, it was sorely mistaken, as the people have flat-out rejected the offer, saying it is an insult to them. They consider the offer disrespectful and undermining of their losses. Under the current offer, the people of the community will each have $1,700.

A spokesman for Shell Nigeria has said, “We haven’t reached an agreement on compensation, which is disappointing,” while Martyn Day of Leigh Day, the British Law firm representing the Bodo community people says, “the whole week has been deeply disappointing.”
Bodo community, Niger-delta,

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