Commonwealth representatives ask for reparations and apology ahead of coronation

The statement calls on the King to act on the royal family’s ‘recent expressions of sorrow’.

Cormac Pearson
Thursday 04 May 2023 03:49 BST
Representatives from 12 countries have joined forces to call on King Charles III to acknowledge and apologise for the impacts and ongoing legacy from “genocide and colonisation”. (Molly Darlington, PA)
Representatives from 12 countries have joined forces to call on King Charles III to acknowledge and apologise for the impacts and ongoing legacy from “genocide and colonisation”. (Molly Darlington, PA)

Representatives from 12 Commonwealth countries have joined forces to call on the King to acknowledge and apologise for the impacts and ongoing legacy from British “genocide and colonisation”.

The statement, which has been sent to Charles, calls on Britain’s new monarch to act on the royal family’s recent expressions of sorrow by beginning a process for reparations and returning stolen artifacts and bodily remains.

Signatories to the statement include representatives from Australia, New Zealand, The Bahamas and Canada.

The statement said: “Our collective Indigenous Rights Organisations among other organisations who are working to help our communities recover from centuries of racism, oppression, colonialism and slavery, now rightly recognized by the United Nations as ‘Crimes Against Humanity,’ also call for a formal apology and for a process of reparatory justice to commence.”

It outlines five key points, which include: “Immediately start the conversation about slavery’s enduring impact”, “starting discussions about reparations”, “repatriation of all remains of our collective peoples”, “return of all of our cultural treasures and artefacts” and “acknowledge and adopt the renunciation of the ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ made by Pope Francis in April 2023”.

One of the representatives, Australian senator Lidia Thorpe, said: “The British monarchy oversaw the oppression of First Nations peoples in British colonies all over the world. The horrific impacts of British colonisation, including the genocide of our people, theft of our land and denigration of our culture, are still felt today.

“The genocidal project that commenced in 1788 still continues, and neither the British Crown nor the Australian Government have been held to account for the crimes they have committed.

“This joint statement, from First Nations and human rights advocates across the Commonwealth, calls on King Charles III to make a formal apology and begin a process of repairing the damage of colonisation, including returning the stolen wealth that has been taken from our people.”

In early April, the King expressed his support for the first time for research into the historical links between the British monarchy and the transatlantic slave trade.

Buckingham Palace said Charles takes the issues “profoundly seriously” and the royal household will help with the academic project by offering access to the Royal Collection and the Royal Archives.

The coronation will take place on May 6 and heads of state, overseas government representatives, Government ministers, first ministers, former PMs, foreign royals and members of the royal family will be in attendance.

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