The African expert group meeting on slavery opened in Banjul on Tuesday with a reminder that this crime against humanity disrupted Africa’s political and social systems.
It also de-populated large areas of West Africa, arrested social and economic development and caused the under-development of the continent, Gambia’s Secretary of State for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Crispin Grey Johnson said. The meeting is also a follow-up to the world conference against racism meeting held in Durban, South Africa.
He pointed out that the European nations were the main perpetrators of this crime against humanity and between them were responsible for the capture and enslavement of more than 13 million Africans and the death in transit, or in the process of enslavement, of some four million more.
Mr Johnson noted that the trans-Atlantic slave trade was the largest forced migration in human history and has come to be acknowledged as the most violent abuse of human rights as well as the greatest crime against humanity ever recorded.
He said Africa had yet to recover from the effects of this criminal trade, “which now existed in the form of social and economic inequities, bigotry, hatred, prejudice and structural and racial violence”.
“Not only did the slave trade cause untold misery, suffering and damage to Africans, it also led to the colonization of the continent and the institutionalization of racism especially in the Americas and in certain parts of the African continent itself,” Mr Johnson said.
He noted that even after the formal abolition of slavery, the practice has endured in different forms through the many acts of racism that have affected the lives and caused the death of millions of Africans on the continent and beyond, as well as through the emerging and growing phenomena of human trafficking, sexual slavery, child prostitution, among others, of which Africans continue to be the main victims.
He urged delegates to come up with “a set of strong and clear guidelines” that will help their leaders to show an unequivocal and common position on slavery and racism. Panapress .