Swiss Historian calls on his Country to Pay Reparations for Slavery

Swiss Historian Hans Fassler makes his presentation during the symposium. Programme Manager Culture and Community Development at CARICOM Dr. Hilary Brown moderates the proceedings.
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Swiss Historian, Hans Fassler, has called on his Government to pay reparations for slavery.

He made the call during a one-day symposium in Antigua and Barbuda on the topic,  ‘Western Banking, Colonialism and Reparations’ recently. It was held by the  CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC) in collaboration with the Centre for Reparation Research (CRR) and the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Support Commission .

The symposium, which was held at the Starfish Jolly Beach Hotel on Thursday, 10 October,  explored the historical roots of Western banks in financing and profiteering from the enslavement of Africans and their descendants in the Diaspora.  Mr. Fassler, in an interview with CARICOM Today, explained that Switzerland was involved in slavery and slavery activity.

In a press conference a day after the symposium, chairman of the CARICOM Reparations Commission, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, explained that the role of the Western Banking system, and the way it facilitated slavery and the entire slavery system, was examined by historians who made presentations.

“Many of the High Streets you see in Europe and North America and here in the Caribbean started their journey providing services to slave owners and slave traders” Sir Hilary said.

He outlined that experts in the symposium revealed research that helped to illuminate and illustrate the history and development including the role of the Wall Street Banking System, as well as the rise of British Financial System and enterprise, and how the Caribbean was a source of enslaved wealth for those institutions.

He said the rise of Western development and the rise of capitalist transformation cannot be discussed without understanding that it was all based on 400 years of unpaid labour from Africans.

The symposium was held just weeks after the signing of an historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the University of Glasgow and the University of the West Indies whereby the two universities agreed to establish the Glasgow-Caribbean Centre for Development Research.

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