The CARICOM Reparations Commission, CRC, says while it welcomes the Dutch apology for African enslavement, it believes that the words spoken by Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte need to be taken into action.
This past Monday, Rutte issued an apology on behalf of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for its historic role in the slave trade, stating that slavery needs to be noted “in the clearest terms” as a crime against humanity.
Slavery is a past which he acknowledged as one that “cannot be erased, only faced up to”, as he admitted that the Dutch had enabled, encouraged and profited from slavery.
The CRC said in its statement that it welcomes the apology, which was long over due to the victims of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Chattel slavery in the Caribbean and their descendants. ”
However, the CRC noted that the Prime Minister’s statement did not include a commitment nor a signal of his government’s intention to enter into reparations negotiations with CARICOM, Africa and the Indigenous Caribbean Communities who suffered genocide and enslavement at the hands of the Dute state and its agents for over 300 years.
To this end, the CRC says it is keen to engage with the Dutch Government on the next steps to arrive at a mutually satisfactory outcome.
Slavery was abolished in all Dutch Overseas Territories on July 1st 1863, but it took over a decade to truly end it in the CARICOM state of Suriname because of a Mandatory 10 year transition period.
Making the Netherlands one of the last countries to outlaw Slavery.
The CRC, in collaboration with the Centre for Reparations Research at The University of the West Indies, will host a virtual media engagement this week to address the Netherlands’ apology.