Home News The Netherlands issues an official apology for slavery

The Netherlands issues an official apology for slavery

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On Monday, December 19, during a speech in The Hague, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte presented the government’s official apologies for the role of the Dutch state in slavery, which he described as “Crime against humanity”.

“Today I apologize on behalf of the Dutch Government for the actions of the Dutch State in the past: after my death to all the slaves all over the world who have suffered from this act. to their daughters and sons and to all their offspring”Mark Rutte said.

sequel after announcement

We cannot fail to recognize and condemn slavery in the clearest terms as a crime against humanity..

This speech about the Netherlands’ involvement in 250 years of human trafficking was eagerly awaited. At the same time, several of his ministers were present in seven former colonies, in Suriname and the Caribbean, to discuss the matter with the population.

People have become commodities. Human dignity has been trampled on in a horrific way.”Mark Root added, before saying ” I apologize “ In English, saranan (Surinamese Creole) and papiamento (Dutch Antillean Creole).

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The Prime Minister of Aruba, a small island in the Netherlands Antilles located off the coast of Venezuela, welcomed this “A turning point in the kingdom’s history” From Holland. “A sincere apology is always welcome.”Dutch news agency ANP quoted Evelyn Weaver Kroos as saying.

But the government’s willingness to apologize on Monday, which was leaked to the Dutch press in November, sparked heated debate in the Netherlands and abroad for several weeks. Slavery memorial organizations wanted to deliver the apology on July 1, 2023, the date marking 150 years since slavery ended in an annual ceremony called “Kitty Cutie” (Breaking the Chains) in Suriname.

sequel after announcement

Sint Maarten’s Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs told Dutch media on Saturday that the island would not accept a Dutch apology if it was made on Monday.

“There is no one right time for all, no one right word for all, no one right place for all.”Mark Root said about it on Monday.

Slavery exists everywhere, on all continents, and at all times.

golden age

Slavery helped finance “The Golden Age” Dutch, a period of prosperity thanks to the sea trade in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. About 600,000 Africans fled the country, mostly to South America and the Caribbean.

At the height of its colonial empire, the United Provinces, known today as the Netherlands, had colonies such as Suriname, the Caribbean island of Curacao, South Africa, and Indonesia, where the Dutch East India Company was based in the 17th century.

sequel after announcement

Slavery was officially abolished in Suriname and other Dutch-controlled territories on July 1, 1863, but it didn’t really end until 1873 after a period of ” transition “ 10 years.

On Monday the Dutch ministers were in the Caribbean islands: Bonaire, St. Maarten, Aruba, Curaçao, Saba and St. Eustache, and in Suriname.

We must face the past frankly.

In recent years, the Netherlands has begun to come to terms with its role in slavery. The cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague made formal apologies. Mark Root has long had reservations about issuing an official apology, saying in the past that the age of slavery is too old and that an apology would stoke tensions in a country where the far right remains strong.

I thought slavery was history far away from us. I was wrong “He explained on Monday, “Because centuries of oppression and exploitation influence the present in racial stereotypes, discrimination and social inequality”.

“And to break that, we have to face the past openly and honestly.”Only 38% of the adult population supported a formal apology, according to a recent survey, added the prime minister of the Netherlands.

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