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Haitian Groups to Seek Reparations from France


A group of civil society organizations called for the French government to schedule a reparations agreement with Haiti during the third session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in Geneva this week.

According to Reuters, the participants are suggesting that any money paid should be given to the new Transitional Presidential Council, which is currently in the process of selecting a new government, for use in public projects.

The island nation, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, was a slave-holding colony of France until it gained independence in 1804 after an armed revolution. The uprising made the country the first emancipated Caribbean state and the world’s first majority black republic.

At issue is the 1825 agreement between the French and Haitian governments that forced the former colonial territory to reimburse their previous rulers for any property lost because of the transfer of sovereignty. Modern estimates have placed the total amount of assets transferred to Paris at as much as $30 billion.

Although there has been no comment from France regarding the matter, at the opening of the meetings on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres reportedly endorsed the idea of using financial restitution to address the legacy of slavery.

Related Story: State Department Official Says Haiti’s Transitional Government Council Will Form Soon

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