10 May 2014

Africa: Black Rights Groups Urge Banks to Pay for Slavery

Some of France's top banking institutions and richest families are being asked to pay back thousands in compensation to victims of slavery. The Representative Council of Black Associations (CRAN) alleges France profited from the slave trade even after it was abolished. Paris marked the eighth edition of Remembrance Day on Saturday.

"It was the sweat of slaves that built the Bank of France, and it was the Bank of France that built France," declared CRAN President Louis-Georges Tin on Saturday.

Speaking on May 10 - known as "Slavery Remembrance day" in France, the President of the Representative Council of Black Associations denounced the "crucial role" played by the banking industry in propping up slavery.

The CRAN didn't spare the Bank of France, Credit Suisse, Mallet and distinguished Bordelais families from scathing criticism, accusing them of profiteering off the backs of slaves.

The fresh criticisms come after a law-suit filed against state-owned bank Caisse des dépôts et de consignations (CDC) in February this year.

This time, the CRAN is calling for a public commission to study the possibility of widening the campaign for further reparation to those affected by slavery, including African citizens. So far they've had little success.

In a speech commemorating the day, President Francois Hollande acknowledged the state's role in endorsing slavery in the past; though he rejected calls to pay out cash reparations.

Tin has nonetheless reiterated his calls for the President to publicly apologize for France's role in slavery and to support land reforms in their overseas territories to help the descendents of slavery.

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