‘Crime against humanity’ — Netherlands apologises to ex-colonies for 250-year slavery - Naijarecent
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‘Crime against humanity’ — Netherlands apologises to ex-colonies for 250-year slavery

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The Netherlands has apologized to its former colonies for its historical involvement in slavery and the consequences that continue to this day.

Between 1596 and 1829, the Dutch transported about half a million Africans across the Atlantic.

Hundreds of thousands of Africans were also shipped by the Dutch to their settlements in Dutch Guiana, particularly Suriname, where they worked primarily on sugar plantations.

Slavery was prohibited in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, expressed regret and called the country’s role in slavery a “crime against humanity” in a televised speech on Monday.

Today, I apologise. For centuries, the Dutch state and its representatives have enabled and stimulated slavery and have profited from it, Rutte said.

It is true that nobody alive today bears any personal guilt for slavery. However, the Dutch state bears responsibility for the immense suffering that has been done to those that were enslaved and their descendants.

We, living in the here and now, can only recognise and condemn slavery in the clearest terms as a crime against humanity.

The announcement came after a Dutch advisory panel recommended in 2021 that the government acknowledge that the 17th-19th century transatlantic slave trade constituted crimes against humanity and apologize for the Dutch role.

The apology also comes amid a wider reconsideration of the country’s colonial past, including efforts to return looted art, and its current struggles with racism.

However, former colony Suriname has rejected the apology, claiming that it should have come from King Willem-Alexander on July 1, 2023, the 160th anniversary of Dutch abolition of slavery.

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