Prince Charles expressed great sorrow over slavery in a speech to the leaders of the Rwandan Commonwealth on Friday and acknowledged that the organization’s roots lay in a painful period of history.
The Commonwealth, a club of 54 countries that developed from the British Empire, covers about a third of humanity and presents itself as a network of equality societies, but some member states have called for calculations in the colonial past.
“I want to acknowledge that the roots of the present lie deep in the most painful period of our history,” Charles told the Commonwealth leaders at the opening ceremony of a two-day summit in Kigali.
“I cannot express my deep personal grief over the suffering of so many as I continue to deepen my own understanding of the lasting effects of slavery.
The British and other European nations enslaved more than 10 million Africans between the 15th and 19th centuries and transported them across the Atlantic to work on plantations in the Caribbean and the Americas. Many died along the way.
Members of the Commonwealth are West African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, where slaves were taken prisoner, and 12 countries in the Caribbean where they spent the rest of their lives.
The Commonwealth has never before publicly wrestled with the legacy of slavery. Some Caribbean ministers have called for it to be discussed, including the tort issue, which Charles did not mention.
“If we are to shape a common future that benefits all our citizens, we must also find new ways to acknowledge our past. This is simply a conversation that the time has come, “said Charles.
Some officials said Charles’ remarks were a welcome acknowledgment of past suffering, but added that the focus should be on the future.
“We are not here to get into the dark story. We want to see how we proceed, “said Liberata Mulamula, Tanzania’s foreign minister.
Prince Charles expresses regret over slavery in Commonwealth speech – SABC News
Source link Prince Charles expresses regret over slavery in Commonwealth speech – SABC News