Pempamsie is the Adinkra symbol for sewing together in readiness -preparatory actions for reparatory justice. building our future out of our principled operational unity despite our diversity. Indeed, part of the repair process is about Afrikan heritage communities developing our own community capacity and power-base as well as our own Afrikan Heritage Community Self-Repairs Plans. Mpango is the Kiswahili word for plan.
Maatubuntuman is the name of a self-repaired Afrika and means a global Afrikan polity which consists of a Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities. Coined from the conjunction of ‘Maat’ (the holistic justice concept from Kemet, Ancient Egypt, with ‘Ubuntu’ (the Bantu concept of the communion of humanity from Southern Afrika) and ‘Oman’ (the Akan concept of egalitarian polity from West Afrika). Upon the initiative of the Pan-Afrikan Forum of Ghana (PAFOG) in conjunction with the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE) and adopted by the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament (GAPP) and the Maatubuntumitawo-Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council, it has been adopted as one of the key rallying objectives of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.
The process of Pempamsiempango (reparations planning) should occur within the context of a glocal framework which is establishing repaired Afrikan Heritage Communities which are referred to as Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination (AHCs-NSDs)/ Maatubuntujamaas in the UK and other parts of the Diaspora which organically builds links with such Communities of Resistance and Communities of Reparatory Justice Interest on the Continent of Afrika which are known as Sankofahomes.
Maatubuntujamaas are Afrikan Heritage Communities for National Self-Determination that are regenerating themselves to become autonomous polities of national self-determination in the Afrikan Diaspora integrated into Sankofahomes. Sankofahomes (literally meaning a return to one’s Motherland) are indigenous communities in Afrika that are regenerating themselves purposefully to facilitate the integration of Maatubuntujamaas in the Diaspora. These Maatubuntujamaas are a form of non-territorial autonomy whereby we as a people build autonomous institutions of self-governance focusing on areas of Afrikan Heritage Community Self-Repairs such as education, healthcare, and community cooperative enterprise, for example.
Establishing Maatubuntujamaas is a Afrikan Heritage Community self-repairs effectuating work-in-progress for the holistic regeneration of Afrikan communities; mindful of the fact that such Afrikan communities at present exist in the UK as a multiplicity of different and sometimes even conflicting nation-state, ethnic, racial, class, gender, age and other socio-cultural configurations brought from all over the World; therefore, this Maatubuntujamaa regeneration of Afrikan communities is being done in such a radical changemaking way and manner of Intersectionality so as to enable the Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice development, out of their multifariousness, of a one distinct new type of Afrikan communion of people to serve as a living prototype of the component bodies of the future Maatubuntuman Pan-Afrikan Union of Communities throughout the continent and Diaspora of Afrika.
Please note where you see different spellings of Afrikan this is because we in the SMWeCGEC use the spelling of Afrikan with a K but have preserved the spelling of African with a C when that is used by others.
Today we in the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign and our educational arm the Maangamizi Educational Trustwere participating stakeholders to the historic establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on African Reparations (APPGAR) which was launched in the British Houses of Parliament (via an online AGM) at 10.30am this morning, Wednesday 20th October 2021. The APPGAR is chaired by Bell Ribeiro-AddyMP, the Vice Chairs are Marsha De Cordova MP and Caroline Lucus MP, the Assistant Secretary is Sir Peter Bottomley.
On behalf of the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign, the Maangamizi Educational Educational Trust will be sharing the running of the Secretariat for the APPGAR. Other organisations who will also be part of running the secretariat are the Glocal Afrikan Reparations Forum of London, (GARFOL) and The African Foundation for Development, (AFFORD).
The APPGAR will be officially launched on 27th October 2021.
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Chair of the Maangamizi Educational Trust and Coordinator General of the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign who was honoured to speak at the AGM made the following speech:
My name is Esther Stanford-Xosei and I speak as the Chair of the Maangamizi Educational Trust (MET) which is the educational arm of the Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC). Because of the historic importance of the AGM of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on African Reparations (APPGAR) today, the MET/SMWeCGEC has agreed a written speech from which I shall read.
First of all, we would like to acknowledge countless generations of Afrikans in the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) on whose shoulders, struggles and sacrifices we stand, whom since the mid-1700s in the UK specifically, have advocated for holistic reparations. In this regard, we particularly highlight the role of people like Ottobah Cugoano and other members of the Sons of Africa.
This idea for the APPGAR comes out of the campaigning efforts of the Stop The Maangamizi Campaign and our charitable educational arm, the Maangamizi Educational Trust. Maangamizi is the Kiswahili term for the continuum of chattel enslavement, colonialism and neocolonilaism.
We see the establishment of the APPGAR as a continuation of the work of the late Bernie Grant MPwho was the first member of the British Houses of Parliament to take up the issue of Afrikan Reparations following on from the ‘First Pan-African Conference on Reparations for Chattel Enslavement, Colonisation & Neocolonisation’ which took place in Abuja, Nigeria in 1993 and resulted in the establishment of the organisation known as the African Reparations Movement UK as well as the Abuja ProclamationEarly Day Motion 1987. It is in continuity of this work that we in the Maangamizi Educational Trust and the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign take our duties within the secretariat of the APPGAR very seriously. For this parliament has played a major role in legalizing, historical and contemporary injustices against Afrikan people worldwide including the passing of the Slave Compensation Act of 1837, which compensated our enslavers rather than Afrikan people. It has been very instrumental in legalizing our dehumanization, and continues with justifications being provided by this government for the discriminatory impacts of its extractivist policies in the Global South to supposedly avert the climate and ecological crises.
In terms of our MET/SMWeCGEC vision of the APPGAR, we see its purpose as: “bringing together parliamentarians, campaigners, communities and other stakeholders to examine issues of African Reparations; explore policy proposals on reparations and make recommendations to Parliament on how to redress the legacies of African enslavement, colonialism and neocolonialism today“. In this regard, a key objective of the APPGAR being to facilitate, work towards establishing the UKAll-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) which is a key demand contained in the Stop The Maangamizi Petition and forms one of the main purposes of the ‘Atonement and Reparations for the United Kingdom’s Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Africans’ motions being passed by local and city councils.
People of Afrikan Heritage have been denied their right to be heard on what we mean by reparations, and what solutions we are already working on as part of Community Self-Repairs so that is what we are calling for a mechanism which can facilitate the dialogue between Afrikan Heritage Communities and the British State and society; which for us is the APPCITARJ. We therefore see this APPGAR as an important step in the process towards establishing such a mechanism of such vitally necessary dialogue. For it is only then that we can truly make appropriate policy and other programmatic types of redress by way of remedies to repair ourselves here in the UK and extending into the Afrikan Heritage Communities globally; and in the process also catalyze the repair of the entire British society and of course, of all peoples and societies, within and beyond in the UK.
It is necessary for the APPGAR to invite people to honest dialogue on this issue of Afrikan Reparations, because this struggle to effect and secure holistic reparatory justice, like all our struggles, begins with the need for, as advocated by Professor Karenga, a clear conception of what we want, how we define the issue and explain it to the world and what is to be done to achieve it. However, on this we should be guided by Afrikan Heritage Communities and the movements they have created to effect and secure holistic reparatory justice which have been operational over centuries.
We in the MET/SMWeCGEC want to emphasize that the grassroots of our Afrikan Heritage Communities across the world should be driving this work. It is up to this APPGAR to demonstrate that there is a leadership that will be of service to our communities at this time when there are big questions about what kind of leadership we have and even some of the state and non-state actors active on issues of reparations, being heavily scrutinised in terms of their credibility and commitment to our people in what some see as a tendency to want to make elitist deals under the guise of reparations which do not benefit the masses of the people. We should all be clear that Afrikan Heritage Communities have a right to participate in reparations programme and policy development and must be in the driving seat of such processes best summed up in the mantra: Nothing About Us Without Us for Anything About Us Without Us is Against Us. Furthermore, participation rights are individual and collective human rights under customary international law. They are enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and further established in states’ legal obligations as spelled out in the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination(ICERD) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples(UNDRIP).
That is why for us in the MET/SMWeCGEC, the emphasis should be on Afrikan Heritage Communities Self-Repairs as was recognised in the Bristol ‘Atonement and Reparations’ motion which states: reparative justice should be driven by Afrikan Heritage Communities experiences, voices and perspectives to ensure that advocacy messages not only reflect but also respond to the real needs of the community in order to recognise inequalities. Also, that Afrikan Heritage Communities in collaboration with wider stakeholders, should be supported to develop their own glocal ‘reparations plans‘ to tackle issues of community disrepair as a result of the Maangamizi, locally, nationally and internationally. These issues of disrepair rooted in conquest, dispossession, structural racism as well as intergenerational oppression and trauma include in the UK: gun and knife crime among young people, kidnapped and missing children, the discriminatory impacts of the criminal justice system, the education system and the issue of Afrikan heritage maternal death-rates and inequalities of primal health of people of Afrikan heritage and ancestry etc as a result of the continuing impacts of the Maangamizi.
Research of people like Professor Carlton Waterhouseshows that much of the reparations policy-making, scholarship and public discourse pays little attention to the quality of past reparations programmes implemented around the world and whilst the emphasis is placed on former and contemporary wrongdoers to make apology, recompense, or other types of restitution, very little attention is paid to results, the end result of any reparations process should be the restoration and recovery of those that have experienced enduring injustice and harm, as well as the critical role that communities and individuals suffering from past abuses should play in establishing those programmes in order to re-establish their personal well-being and societal standing. Similarly, a lot of attention gets placed on state initiated reparations programmes; but this is based on a false and outmoded notion of international law as just being about the law of nation-states or governments rather than peoples and/or affected communities.
As much as this APPGAR has been centuries in the making, we must also recognise the context within which this struggle to effect and secure holistic reparatory justice is unfolding as historian Professor John Henrik Clarke advocated, we must be conscious of what political and cultural time of day it is given our locations as Afrikan people on the map of human geography. At a time when the extent of the Maangamizi is now imperilling all life on Planet Earth and some of us are threatened with literal extinction; an approach to effecting and securing holistic reparatory justice is required which brings about Planet Repairs which means: when safeguarding the rights of past, present and future generations; the need to proceed from a standpoint of Pluriversality that highlights the nexus of reparatory, environmental and cognitive justice in articulating the impetus to repair holistically our relationship with, and inseparability from, the Earth, Environment and the Pluriverse. Such an approach recognises there is urgent need for us all to compel the stopping of the Maangamizi of Neocolonialism and its inbuilt manifestations of genocide and ecocide and for Afrikan Heritage Communities to engage in deep and transformative adaptation given the certainty of intensifying climate and ecological crisis which is already impacting all life support systems as we know it rapidly-changing Planet Earth; doing so in ways and means that repair and transform our existing failed institutions in all spheres of people activity, locally, nationally and internationally. Such repair and transformation being anchored in the ancient Afrikan ethical imperative of Serudj ta, i.e., healing, repairing and remaking the World, making it more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
For these reasons, an essential part of our communities self-defence is transformative adaptation which is also about us beginning to make Pempamsiempangos, an Adinkra symbol, which encapsulates the necessity to knit and sew together in readiness for our community self-repairs; these are Glocal Afrikan Reparations Plan for Planet Repairs Alternative Progression being drawn up locally, nationally, internationally as well as globally. Alternative Progression plans become necessary given the contested nature of currently dominant processes of globalized development as highligted in Pluriverse: A Post Development Dictionary, given its structural roots in the Maangamizi, modernity, capitalism, state domination, and exclusively masculinist values which have often ended up being instead maldevelopment.
Finally, it is important to note that we who have been struggling to effect community self-repairs over centuries have built up an extensive knowledge base about the kind of system-change reparatory justice policy and programmatic measures are required. It follows that reparations education and conscientisation is part of the preparation for effecting and securing reparatory justice and this requires the APPGAR to also facilitate intense study about this issue as well as recognising that there is such a thing as reparations ethics. In this regard to acknowledge the INOSAAR Principles of Participationwhich promote equity between the knowledges produced by Afrikan Heritage Communities on Reparations and all other stakeholders.
We in the MET and the SMWeCGEC commit to disciplined, proactive work in the APPGAR secretariat and in fulfilment of this vision and we are keen to work equitably with partners who recognise the principles of Afrikan agency in determining what is best for our people.
We thank Bell Ribeiro-Addy for taking up this challenge by taking this historic step in initiating this APPGAR and agreeing to chair it and of course also to all of you who have agree to be the other executive officers.
We look forward to supporting and working with you all in the APPGAR.
The orginal proposal for the APPGAR as proposed by the MET can be found here.
“Accepting our responsibility and obligation to our Ancestors for ensuring that the African identity is proclaimed, maintained and developed; and that Africa is restored to its rightful place at the centre of world politics; call upon all people of African origin in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, the Americas and elsewhere to support the movement for reparations and join forces with a view to forming a strong united front capable of exposing, confronting and overcoming the psychological, economic and cultural harm inflicted upon us by peoples of European origin.”
Birmingham Declaration, Africa Reparations Movement (UK), 01/01/94
“Reparations is a process of the repairing and remaking of a people who are in the process and practice of repairing, renewing and remaking the world”
Professor Maulana Karenga, Black Power Encyclopaedia: From “Black is Beautiful” to Urban Uprisings, 2018
Stop the Maangamizi Campaign Briefing Note On UK Government Response to Written Question on the All Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) Asked by Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, Green Party Life Peer 
This briefing, which has been shared with members of the Green Party, is our Stop the Maangamizi Campaign position informed by the ‘Law Repairs’ perspective of reparatory justice pertaining to the Law as Resistance strategy we utilise in our critical legal praxis. This comes from the school of jurisprudence to which our critical legal scholar-activists of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) belong and is also informed by a social movement-lawyering approach.
One definition of movement lawyering put forward by University of California legal expert Betty Hungis a practice which “supports and advances social movements as the building and exercise of collective power, led by the most directly impacted, to achieve systemic, institutional and cultural change”. Movement lawyers maintain a sustained commitment to social movement goals and collaborate with mobilised social movement groups and organizations over time to achieve them; in ways which support grassroots organising and help build the power of the people to bring about forms of redress and solutions to the issues and challenges they face.
The SMWeCGEC was consulted on the following question pertaining to the establishment of the APPCITARJ asked by Baroness Bennett (Green Party) in the House of Lords.
United Nations: Peace Keeping Operations – Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UIN HL10267, tabled on 12 November 2020
Re: Response from Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
The ‘Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law’ (hereafter referred to as the Basic Principles) has alternatively been referred to as the UN Framework on Reparations in Green Party documentation. The Basic Principles encapsulate international best-practice standards on reparations at domestic and regional levels. Both international humanitarian law and human rights law are the product of treaties and customary international law, as well as of general principles of law – all of which are sources of international law.
The preamble to The Basic Principles state:
Emphasizing that the Basic Principles and Guidelines contained herein do not entail new international or domestic legal obligations but identify mechanisms, modalities, procedures and methods for the implementation of existing legal obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law which are complementary though different as to their norms.
It is the view of the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign that Afrikan Heritage Communities have been and continue to be victimised by the legacies of Afrikan enslavement, colonisation and neocolonialism and recognise the position of Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its ‘Approach To Reparations’ (2001) that:
…The descendants of a victim of human rights abuse should also be able to pursue claims of reparations. That is, the right to reparations should not be extinguished with the death of the victim but can be pursued by his or her heirs.”
Accordingly, the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign has developed its campaign for accountability cognisant of the HRW Position:
For these practical reasons, when addressing relatively old wrongs, we would not base claims of reparations on the past abuse itself but on its contemporary effects. That is, we would focus on people who can reasonably claim that today they personally suffer the effects of past human rights violations through continuing economic or social deprivation.
HRW go on to state:
A group’s ability to identify a wrong to its ancestors would not in itself be enough to claim reparations (although under traditional human rights law its members could pursue claims for abuses against themselves). The group would also have to show continuing harm to itself from those past abuses. This focus on contemporary effects, in our view, provides a firmer and more appealing moral footing for discussions about reparations for old abuses…this approach concentrates on those people who continue to be victimized by past wrongs and seeks to end their victimization.
Re: Lord Ahmad’s statement:
As implied by its title, this addresses reparation for individuals for gross or serious violations of human rights law or international humanitarian law.
The preamble to the Basic Principles also state:
Noting that contemporary forms of victimization, while essentially directed against persons, may nevertheless also be directed against groups of persons who are targeted collectively.
Art. 8 of The Basic Principles state:
Victims are persons who individually or collectively suffered harm, including physical or mental injury, emotional suffering, economic loss or substantial impairment of their fundamental rights, through acts or omissions that constitute gross violations of international human rights law, or serious violations of international humanitarian law. Where appropriate, and in accordance with domestic law, the term “victim” also includes the immediate family or dependants of the direct victim and persons who have suffered harm in intervening to assist victims in distress or to prevent victimization.
The Basic Principles therefore relate to individual and collective victims in that the notion of ‘victim’ includes individual (direct and indirect victims), their families and communities.
Whilst a significant amount of international human rights bodies have utilised reparations jurisprudence pertaining to victimisation directed at individuals, it is also recognised that victimisation may be directed against groups of persons who are targeted collectively and therefore have the right to seek collective redress. Moreover, International law recognises the rights of individuals to exercise certain rights in community with others.
A different concept from that of rights of ‘groups as collective entities’ are the rights of ‘groups of individuals’, such as in the case of international treaties and declarations concerning ‘minorities’. Art. 3(1) of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities  states that: “Persons belonging to minorities may exercise their rights, including those set forth in the present Declaration, individually as well as in community with other members of their group, without any discrimination”.
However, it should be clarified that not all international or regional human rights systems have exactly equivalent definitions of the term victim of human rights violations and persons entitled to reparation. Indeed, in some cases, while a person is not considered a victim, he or she may nevertheless have suffered harm and be entitled to reparation. Also, persons who have suffered harm may be considered victims in one system while not in another, but be entitled to reparation in both. In other words: the notion of victim may be narrower than the notion of persons entitled to reparation. This is reflected in Article 41 ECHR and Article 63 ACHR, which, for the purpose of reparation, do not speak of ‘victims’ with regard to this particular obligation of reparation, but of ‘injured party’. The differentiation is not reflected in Principle 8 of the UN Principles on Reparation, which defines victims from the perspective of those entitled to reparation, thus adopting a wide definition of the term victim.
Re: Lord Ahmad’s Statement:
These bodies of law are not retroactive.
Art. 6 & 7 of the Basic Principles state:
IV. Statutes of limitations
6. Where so provided for in an applicable treaty or contained in other international legal obligations, statutes of limitations shall not apply to gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law which constitute crimes under international law.
7. Domestic statutes of limitations for other types of violations that do not constitute crimes under international law, including those time limitations applicable to civil claims and other procedures, should not be unduly restrictive.
Morally speaking, one cannot impose a statute of limitations on a claim for reparations when the British Government has impaired the ability of victimised Afrikan Heritage Communities to pursue a claim or when the said government continues to deny the claims and rights of Afrikan Heritage Communities to reparations. In this regard, the response received in 2018 by the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign  from Lord Ahmad, on behalf of the British Government (“We do not believe reparations are the answer”) is instructive here.
The fact of the matter is, irrespective of the intention of those framing international laws such as the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and negotiating UN agreements such as the Basic Principles, it is the right of all groups and communities to self-determinedly apply law in their own interests, in consonance with the best interests of all humanity.
The breaking of treaties and other agreements made by colonising authorities in various ways with Indigenous communities which trample upon the rights of these communities and violate law, order and justice as designed for themselves in exercise of their sovereign right to self-determination, must also be given recognition. Such long overdue recognition, in the light of cognitive justice, demands acceptance as legitimate parts of international law in all its forms, the self-designed systems of law, order and justice of Indigenous communities; meaning communities that have suffered colonisation and still have various forms of neocolonialism subjugating them, at present, to settler occupation, robbery of sovereignty and denial of their independent peoplehood. This is what we in the ISMAR regard as the ‘Law Repairs’ of holistic reparatory justice.
On Gross and Serious Violations
According to the Practitioners Guide for ‘The Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Gross Human Rights Violations’:
The Basic Principles do not define either ‘gross violations ofinternational human rights law’ or ‘serious violations ofinternational humanitarian law’. Although not formally defined in international law, ‘gross violations’ and ‘seriousviolations’ denote types of violations that affect, in qualitative and quantitative terms, the most basic rights of human beings, notably the right to life and the right to physical and moral integrity of the human person. It is generally assumed that genocide, slavery and slave trade, murder, enforced disappearances, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, prolonged arbitrary detention, deportation or forcible transfer of population, and systematic racial discrimination fall into this category. Deliberate and systematic deprivation of essential foodstuffs, essential primary health care or basic shelter and housing may also amount to gross violations of human rights. In international humanitarian law, ‘serious violations’ are to be distinguished from ‘grave breaches’. The latter refers to atrocious violations that are defined in international humanitarian law but only relating to international armed conflicts. The term ‘serious violations’ is referred to but not defined in international humanitarian law. It denotes severe violations that constitute crimes under international law, whether committed in international or non-international armed conflict. The acts and elements of ‘serious violations’ (along with ‘grave breaches’) are reflected in article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court under ‘war crimes’.
It is also important to highlight the fact that these crimes against humanity, including crimes of genocide and ecocide, committed by state and corporate bodies of European imperialism were recognised as crimes not only by Afrikan people but also by peoples of conscience within European countries and their overseas settler colonial communities. In addition, these crimes were resisted. Such resistance resulted in mass movements, like the abolitionist and anti-colonial movements in Europe and other parts of the Global North in solidarity with and involving Indigenous and other communities of resistance throughout the world. That is why it is incorrect to say that such crimes against humanity represented the national will of peoples in Europe. It is noteworthy that this national will reflecting the conscience of the majority in these countries often denounced the genocide and ecocide crimes of the minority ruling classes who abused state power to perpetrate such crimes that stained the national honour of these countries as dissenting voices in these societies have always pointed out.
On the Human Rights Act
Re: Lord Ahmad’s Statement:
If a UK citizen’s rights are violated, they have recourse to remedy and reparation through the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), which gives further effect to the European Convention on Human Rights. In particular, section 8 HRA states that “In relation to any act (or proposed act) of a public authority which the court finds is unlawful, may grant such relief or remedy, or make such order within its powers as it considers just and appropriate”. There are no plans to establish an inquiry into section 8 HRA.
The Human Rights Act 1998 aims to “bring rights home”, so that Convention rights can be enforced in the UK courts rather than having to go to Strasbourg. However, narrow interpretations of the Human Rights Act which are in contravention of the letter and spirit of the Act itself, must not be used to defend the indefensible. What is being requested is for the establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ), not an inquiry into section 8 of the HRA.
The Stop the Maangamizi Petition reiterates the point that the demand for the APPCITARJ is necessary “to advance the process of dialogue from the ground-upwards, with the British State and society on Reparatory Justice”.
Art. 11 of the Basic Principles explains:
Remedies for gross violations of international human rights law and serious violations of international humanitarian law include the victim’s right to the following as provided for under international law:
(a) Equal and effective access to justice;
(b) Adequate, effective and prompt reparation for harm suffered;
(c) Access to relevant information concerning violations and reparation mechanisms.
The European Court has held that the failure to conduct an effective investigation into credible allegations of human rights violations may violate the right to an effective remedy of the victim and/or their relatives.
Suggested Follow-Up Question
From this briefing we in the Stop the Maangamizi Campaign suggest Baroness Natalie Bennett can pose a follow-up question along the following lines:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, will it now, in connection with the International Decade for People of African Descent, recognise the importance of an inquiry into reparatory justice for tackling the legacies of Afrikan Enslavement such as Afriphobia, colonisation and neocolonialism, with holistic measures, including redressing the climate and ecological crises in ways that ensures that the voices of Afrikans and their descendants are properly heard and Planet Repairs delivers global justice to all.
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Coordinator General, Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide Ecocide Campaign (SMWeCGEC)
There are two ways of seeing and interpreting international legal transformation – from above as most lawyers do when they focus on formal sources, judicial opinions, and treaties exclusively – or from below when we focus on the lived experience of ordinary people with international law when they encounter international institutions, frame their demands in international legal terms, and network for influencing international or domestic policy.
Balakrishnan Rajagopal, International Law From Below, 2005
This article was updated on 07/08/17, 27/06/18 and 17/10/20 from when it was originally published in 2015
“The damage sustained by the Afrikan peoples is not a thing of the past, but is painfully manifested in the damaged lives of contemporary Afrikans from Harlem to Harare’ in the damaged economies of the Black World from Guinea to Guyana from Somalia to Suriname.”
Abuja Proclamation of the First Conference on Reparations for Enslavement, Colonisation & Neocolonisation, 1993
No exact template or model exists for the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ) in that it will have to be shaped in a way that meets the needs and aspirations of Afrikan Heritage Communities that have been enslaved, colonised or otherwise oppressed by the British Empire and/or the current British State. However, our vision is that the APPCITARJ will consist of British and European Parliamentary Commissions established with representation from the political parties in these parliaments and thy will hear our submissions as Afrikan Heritage Communities who have been impacted by the Maangamizi (Afrikan Hellacaust of chattel, colonial and neocolonial enslavement). This is an example of the revolutionary use of reform in that we are tactically seeking to use establishment institutions and some of their processes to achieve some of our revolutionary objectives for reparatory justice social change and transformation.
For us in the ‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC), this is not about taking our individual and collective cases to parliamentarians for those parliamentarians, on their own, to decide on the merits of our individual/family/people’s case and to make final judgements about what the outcomes should be. In our view, this adjudication function can best be achieved by the establishment of the Ubuntukgotla – Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (PITGJ) in which representatives of our people and other peoples who have experienced European colonialism, enslavement and genocide become the judges using law from our various people’s legal traditions. Rather, the establishment of the APPCITARJs, at the levels of the Westminster Houses of Parliament and the European Parliament, are a tactic to facilitate widespread evidence gathering which reveal facts about the magnitude of the Maangamizi and for the public dissemination of that evidence as part of the battle to win hearts of minds and influence public opinion to support our people’s cause.
It is therefore important for the proposed APPCITARJ to seek an appropriately weighted balance between an individualized approach that places victims and perpetrators at the centre of the process and recognising as well as redressing the impact of the Maangamizi on whole collectivities. However, this requires a focus on tackling the systemic aspects of the Maangamizi and examining the role of institutions, structures of legitimisation and governance in its continuance. In this regard, we are keen to ensure that the systemic aspects of the Maangamizi are no longer hidden from scrutiny or public accountability.
Dissemination of such evidence in the arena of the British public will compel the majority of the British public to agree with us that there is an overwhelming case for their criminal ruling classes to answer. In effect, we want our people to have a ‘hearing’ and to speak to the public, (court of public opinion) through the British Parliament. This entails exposing the evidence to the glare of the public and utilising various forms of media who will be reporting on the proceedings to influence public support for our cause of Afrikan Reparatory Justice. According to the 2005 United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to A Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, an essential aspect of reparations include, among other measures: investigation of the facts, official acknowledgement and apology, receipt of answers; an opportunity for victims to speak in a public forum about their experiences and to have active involvement in the reparative process. We are therefore seeking to ensure that our people’s testimonies will bring to light all the gory details that the British public has not been allowed to hear; has been denied true education about; and that we too have not been allowed to narrate on platforms with official legitimisation.
This parliamentary and extra-parliamentary process will create the opportunity for a diverse collectivity of Afrikan voices, from all over the world, to speak to the Maangamizi crimes of the British Empire, the British State and its ruling classes, by providing public testimony about our family and people’s case, as we see it. Once these testimonies of ordinary people, as well as the various research and other forms of documentation of the Maangamizi that exists, are being heard over and over again, clarity will dawn on the British public.
Ultimately, we are seeking to ensure that our combined evidence, voiced, recorded and reported from the UK and European Parliaments, paints the horrific truth of the culprits crimes. This is an opportunity we have never been given. Once the British public have heard the whole truth, it will be easier for us to win them over to our side; to publicise who the main culprits are ; and elucidate the harm that their deception over the years has done not only to Afrikan Heritage Communities, but also to the British people as a whole. This spark-rippling process will in itself compel the majority of those conscientious members of the British people to join us all in movement-building to stop the harm and repair the damage being done to themselves, and to others, in their name. So what will be a just retribution in terms of holding such perpetrators to account? One form of retribution is to strip the criminals of their ill-gotten wealth and status (“Expropriate the Expropriators!) and reclaim our wealth for Reparatory Justice Redistribution.
A large part of our people’s case for compensation is that this is unjustly obtained intergenerational wealth includes the wealth that which we as Afrikan Heritage Communities, are historically owed and have been denied, in addition to what is being stolen from and owed to our contemporary generations. We therefore advocate that we must have out of that redistributed wealth, all that we need to repair our own selves i.e. Afrikan Community Self-Repairs*. Although, we concede that the majority of British people deserve some of that wealth from their ruling classes in terms of wealth that has also been stolen from them over the years. Practically, this is how we see that external compensation in the form of the just redistribution of our people’s wealth will be secured.
*Afrikan Community Self-Repairs are the self-determined efforts that need to be made in building our own power, in such a way, that Afrikan heritage communities are able to identify and enhance ongoing work towards stopping the contemporary manifestations of the Maangamizi, which are putting the individuals, families and other social groups that make up our communities into a state of disrepair; as well as reasoning and consciously carrying out the alternative solutions for glocally rebuilding our power base as communities, in such a way that that they are eventually transformed, in accordance with the principles and programmatic demands of Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice.
“The inheritance of rich people’s wealth by their children should stop. The expropriators should have their wealth expropriated and redistributed“
So for us, the strategic purpose of the APPCITARJ is to divorce the masses of the British public from aligning with their ruling classes in order that they can once again be on the right side of history (as were many of their abolitionists); in collaborating with us to strip their ruling classes of their ill-gotten wealth and other gains and collaborate with us to secure its redistribution.
One of the greatest challenges for transformative reparatory justice change processes and mechanisms is addressing not only the histories of acts of Maangamizi dispossession and violence, but also those of structural violence, where power relations are manifest through the systematic and collective violation/s of economic, social and cultural rights. In many contexts, racialised and otherwise marginalised populations, particularly those of Afrikan heritage, are often systematically excluded from community development initiatives as well as often being denied full participation and substantive Afrikan Heritage Community representation in social, economic and political life. So the way other commissions of inquiry or truth commissions have interacted with ‘victims’ of these harm causing violations; such as receiving testimony, writing histories of victimization in such a way that assists such groups to recover their agency, and recommending reparative approaches – can be replicated with Afrikan Heritage Communities as a collective victim.
The 2014 Instance de la Vérité et Dignité (IVD, Commission for Truth and Dignity) in Tunisia pointed the way, by seeking to address the broad range of demands that the Tunisian Revolution made, including not just for truth, but also threats to dignity including issues such as the lack of graduate jobs and the often extreme geographical inequalities that came to the fore in Tunisia under the Ben Ali regime. To address the issue of the collective and structural violence of social exclusion; and for the first time in the history of truth commissions; the IVD defined and implemented the concept of a collective victim as including: “any person who suffered harm following a violation…, be they individuals, or groups of individuals” (Organic law on Transitional Justice).
To maximize the impact of collective reparations for Afrikan Heritage Communities requires that such reparations not only address harms, but also the structures and institutions underpinning such harms, and ensure that the such reparations transform the circumstances of unjustly impoverished and marginalised victims. Such transformation occurring in such a way as to address contemporary injustice in its multiple dimensions, (i.e. historical, ethnic, social, political, cultural, religious, sexual, epistemic and ecological). Such injustice being underpinned by ‘cognitive injustice’ which is the failure to recognise the plurality of different knowledges by which Afrikan Heritage Communities give meaning to their existence. It is only by pursuing global cognitive justice that holistic and transformative reparatory justice can become a reality. Hence why in our approach to developing the APPCITARJ, we are cognizant of the need to also adopt approaches, processes, mechanisms and initiatives that incorporate the legal cosmovisions (Indigenous worldviews), ideas and claims of Afrikan people. This in itself, requires a more complete set of tools for building alternatives to the present system of legalized injustice.
“Always remember that the people do not fight for ideas, for the things that exist only in the heads of individuals. The people fight and accept the necessary sacrifices. But they do it in order to gain material advantages, to live in peace and to improve their lives, to experience progress, and to be able to guarantee a future for their children. National liberation, the struggle against colonialism, working for peace and progress, independence – all of these will be empty words without significance for the people unless they are translated into real improvements in the conditions of life.”
Amilcar Cabral, Guinea-Bissau: A Study of Political Mobilisation, 1974, p.91
Among the challenges facing reparations for Maangamizi resistors and survivors, is to differentiate between reparations and the requirement that a state deliver basic public services. Reparatory justice measures will not be secured from others outside of a comprehensive and holistic Afrikan Heritage Community Pempamsie (sewing together) Community Self-Repairs Plan and related policies, which must accompany and shape it. This is why we in the SMWeCGEC, in partnership with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee (AEDRMC), its allied organisations and other formations within and beyond the UK such as the MAATUBUNTUMITAWU-Global Afrikan Family Reunion International Council in West Afrika, are mobilizing and supporting others to self-organise year-round building on the 2017-2018 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March theme of ‘Promoting the reparatory justice change that we are organising to bring about’ as a key aspect of advancing the 2020 declared Reparations Rebellion which continues into 2021 organising around the theme: Defeating Neocolonialism with Afrikan Autonomy: All Roads Must Lead to Our Sacred Cause of Reparations.
Pempamsie Adinkra symbol
The beginnings of such a Pempamsie Plan were documented in the 2003 Black Quest for Justice Campaign (BQJC) legal & extra-legal Strategy for Pan-Afrikan Reparations for Global Justice; and were included in its legal action supported by the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe (PARCOE), the Black United Front (BUF), the then newly formed Global Afrikan Congress (GAC) and the International Front for Afrikan Reparations (IFAR).
Characteristics of Commissions of Inquiry with Truth Commission Functions:
“In recent decades, the truth commission has become a mechanism used by states to address historical injustices. However, truth commissions are rarely used in established democracies, where the commission of inquiry model is favoured. I argue that established democracies may be more amenable to addressing historical injustices that continue to divide their populations if they see the truth commission mechanism not as a unique mechanism particular to the transitional justice setting, but as a specialised form of a familiar mechanism, the commission of inquiry. In this framework, truth commissions are distinguished from other commissions of inquiry by their symbolic acknowledgement of historical injustices, and their explicit “social function” to educate the public about those injustices in order to prevent their recurrence.”
Abstract, Kim Pamela Stanton (2010), pii
To get a sense of what we are envisioning for the APPCITARJ, it is best to understand what a truth commission is.
• Truth commissions are generally understood to be “bodies set up to investigate a past history of violations of human rights in a particular country -which can include violations by the military or other government forces or armed opposition forces.” Priscilla B. Hayner, in ‘Unspeakable Truths’ delineates four main characteristics of truth commissions:
1. First, they focus on the past and its impact. The events may have occurred in the recent past, but a truth commission is not an ongoing body akin to a human rights commission.
2. Second, truth commissions investigate a pattern of abuse over a set period of time rather than a specific event. In its mandate, the truth commission is given the parameters of its investigation both in terms of the time period covered as well as the type of human rights violations to be explored.
3. Third, a truth commission is a temporary body, usually operating over a period of six months to two years and completing its work by submitting a report. These parameters are established at the time of the commission’s formation, but often an extension can be obtained to wrap things up.
4. Fourth, truth commissions are officially sanctioned, authorised, or empowered by the state. This, in principle, allows the commission to have greater access to information, greater security, and increased assurance that its findings will be taken under serious consideration. Official sanction from the government is crucial because it represents an acknowledgment of past wrongs and a commitment to address the issues. Furthermore, governments may be more likely to enact recommended reforms if they have established the commission.
Goals of Truth Commissions Include:
• Making recommendations for redress suffered by victims and survivors • Recording and educating about the past • Identifying perpetrators • Formulating policy proposals and recommendations on rehabilitation and the healing of Maangamizi resistors, survivors, their families and the community at large • Providing the victims/survivors with different forms of support to ensure that the commission of inquiry/truth commission process restores the victims’ dignity • Preventing repetition of aspects of the Maangamizi • Forming the basis for a new pluriversal democratic order • Promoting reconciliation • Creating a collective memory.
You can see a list of some previous truth commissions here.
Characteristics of Commissions of Inquiry with Truth Commission Functions:
They are non-judicial mechanisms but can complement judicial mechanisms;
They are commissions of inquiry whose primary function is investigation of human and people and Mother Earth rights violations and violations of humanitarian law, unlike courts or tribunals which deal with adjudication;
They focus on severe acts of violence or repression;
They are victim-centred bodies focused on victims ideas, views, needs, experiences and preferences as primary focus as opposed to elite witnesses or perpetrators;
They formulate recommendations to guarantee the non-repetition of past crimes and reform state institutions involved in the commission of human, peoples and Mother Earth rights violations.
Truth Commission Activities
Investigations/ documentation of violations/ research
Interview/ public hearings
Events and programmes to promote intra and inter community cohesion, reconciliation and conciliation
Advantages of the APPCITARJ:
It will delegitimize Maangamizi denial;
It will rebut misrepresentations of the old order through investigations, public hearings and detailed reports;
It will spur significant national debates on repairs and redress;
It will help governments to take corrective/reparatory actions and develop reparatory policies;
It will provide a measure of accountability for the legacies of past and present atrocities and violations/abuses of human, peoples and Mother Earth rights through its findings.
There are many factors that will determine the composition and mandate of the APPCITARJ including how much we are able to bring pressure to bear on relevant decision-makers and institutions. There has already been some thinking, analysis, research and consultation on what the purpose of the APPCITARJ should be, although this is an evolving process.
Elements of a Participatory Reparations Process
Building direct channels of communication with affected communities, in order to raise awareness of the justice process and promote understanding of the measure. Outreach is therefore central to the mandate of the APPCITARJ, as it is a crucial means for the justice programme to engage with and impact the public.
Outreach activities should work not only to disseminate information to the public, but also to create forums for two-way communication through dialogues, consultation, and participatory events at all stages of the APPCITARJ process.
There should be a dedicated budget for outreach, outreach materials should be culturally appropriate.
Thus far, truth commissions have rarely moved into the more empowerment types of participation (such as decision-making concerning how interviews take place or concrete reparation recommendations), usually remaining more non-dispositive.
To address this, the APPCITARJ must facilitate meaningful inclusion and participation in the early phases, to give a voice to victim needs and concerns and provide some sort of decision-making, such as determining the best methods for reaching communities, taking statements or understanding the statements in a given situation.
The APPCITARJ mandate will set out its goals and objectives, designates the violations and time period under investigation, and specifies a timeframe for completion of work. The mandate will also specify the acts that the APPCITARJ will investigate.
Negotiating an appropriate mandate is key for the APPCITARJ to be able to explore social and environmental justice issues and the broader contours of the legacies of enslavement (The Maangamizi).
The APPCITARJ will Seek to:
Redress global inequalities caused by the Transoceanic Trafficking of Enslaved Afrikans (TTEA). These include, but are not limited to, social, economic and ecological harms;
Acknowledge the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality, and inhumanity of the imposition of the Maangamizi, i.e. Afrikan chattel, colonial and neocolonial enslavement within and beyond the British Empire;
Examine the health, social, environmental and climate impacts of neocolonialism as it impacts on Afrikan Heritage Communities;
Examine Afriphobia and subsequent de jure and de facto racial and socio-economic discrimination against Afrikans and people of Afrikan descent, including their gendered impacts and consequences;
Examine how Afrikan enslavement, colonialism and neocolonialism have directly benefited societal institutions, both public and private, including higher education and other public sector organisations, corporations, as well as religious organisations;
Make recommendations to Parliament and similar bodies at local, national and international levels, including the European Parliament, and;
Determine appropriate methods of dissemination of findings to the public within and beyond Britain for consultation about proposals for supporting initiatives of Afrikan Heritage Community Self-Repairs, Planet Repairs and designing other forms of redress and repairs.
On the Importance of Speaking our Grassroots Power of Truth to Establishment Power
“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim… he or she has become a threat.”
James Baldwin, ‘The Devil Finds Work’, 1976
In providing testimony, the so-called victim/survivor becomes an agent, and his/her narrative is especially threatening because it dares to expose violations and violence when others declare that such oppressions do not exist.
The APPCITARJ will not substitute a judicial process and is not designed to let perpetrators off the hook. Hence the need for the APPCITARJ to evolve in conjunction with the PITGJ. The organising processes towards establishment of the APPCITARJ, including the mobilisational role of the SMWeCGEC, will also galvanise grassroots work towards establishing glocal sittings of the PITGJ, as part of a series of actions which will put a full stop, by way of holistic and transformative reparations, to all acts of Genocide/Ecocide against Afrikan people.
Begin Preparing Yourself for the APPCITARJ & PITGJ
You can prepare yourself for the APPCITARJ by beginning to do family and community research on how we and our immediate families each have suffered, continue to suffer and have also challenged the various crimes of the Maangamizi. In this regard, see the aims of the SMWeCGEC.
Afrikans in the UK and Europe organising towards establishing commissions of inquiry for truth and reparatory justice and local, national and international people’s tribunals to hold the governments of Britain, and other European countries to account. If you are able to gather such evidence you can assist us to arrive at a comprehensive assessment and a full picture of what our journeys and experiences of the Maangamizi have been across the Diaspora, as well as on the continent of Afrika.
Each person and representative of families and their communities have to become our own advocates and experts on your own situation and then we can bring all these experiences together as part of us becoming ‘reparations enforcers’ who are building the power and capacity to hold to account all those who are continuing to profit from the ill-gotten gains of the Maangamizi and are also complicit in its perpetuation today.
See the video below from the documentary ‘Freedom Summer’ for some APPCITARJ lessons from our Shero Fannie Lou Hamer.
Hamer’s testimony had such a huge impact upon the government and public in and outside the USA, and was so powerful, that President Lyndon B. Johnson called an impromptu press conference to get her off the air. This is a recording of the full testimony and also a transcript of that testimony. Her testimony provides an example of what we envisage could be the impact similar ISMAR-coordinated grassroots testimonies by our Afrikan Survivors, Resistors and Challengers of the Maangamizi, from all over the World to the APPCITARJs in the UK Parliament of Westminster and the European Parliament. We surmise that the ‘holding to account’ referred to above can best be done in a collective way by supporting the establishment of the Ubuntukgotla, court of peoples humanity interconnectedness, otherwise known as the Peoples International Tribunal for Global Justice (U-PITGJ), which we encourage you to support the development of. This can be done through hosting sittings of the tribunal, locally, nationally and internationally.
As part of the rationale for this approach, it is important to have a better sense of the historical antecedents of the SMWeCGEC in the UK, see these historic recordings from 2003 of Esther Stanford-Xosei, former legal advisor to the BQJC speaking about the BQJC legal & extra-legal strategy for reparations; the need for a UK commission of inquiry to address the legacies of the Maangamizi; and the commencement of the UK version of the ‘We Charge Genocide Petition and campaign’ under the auspices of then then Black United Front-Parliament (BUF-P). The second set of videos where Stanford-Xosei is interviewed, precedes in order and time the first video where she speaks to camera.
Set up a Family or Community Group Maatzoedzaduara
You can set up a MAATZOEDZADUARA (i.e. Maat action-learning circles or ‘Maat Training Practice Rings’) which is a reparatory justice circle of Maat practitioners who learn to be the self-repairs change at the levels of their person, home, family, neighbourhood, workplace, school, places of leisure and worship, etc. These Maat Training Practice Rings encompass a number of families and lineages, across geographical boundaries and generations. For example, a home or family based Maat Training Practice Ring will entail getting a selected number of people in your family interested in unravelling family histories and using this knowledge to recognise and gather evidence of the harm that has been done to you as a family.
The Practice Rings will also explore how such harms have been passed down throughout the generations, resulting in increasing levels of disrepair. We are looking for case studies of some of these family stories documenting family member’s lived experiences of the Maangamizi and resistance to it. This unravelling of these stories is part of the process of repairing the harm and continuing damage being done and passed down intergenerationally within our own families.
You can also creatively utilise SMWeCGEC Petition Soulsquestathons (SMWeCGEC-PS), which are literally a collection of souls, for spark-rippling MAATZOEZADUARAs. The aim is to link chains of MAATZOEZADUARAs together encompassing a number of families, across geographical boundaries and generations, all over the place, as Grassroots Afrikan Reparatory Justice Action Learning Praxis Exercising Rings (GARJALPERs) of the PITGJ. This means that they will share their stories and practice not only testifying with these stories but also putting their cases through trial rehearsals. The key point about the Soulsquestathons is that the various participants connect to, compare and contrast their self-repairs reparatory justice work as families within these MAATZOEZADUARAs. Basically, these are intergenerational connections, not only of family members of the present, but also the past. It therefore becomes necessary for us to keep records about and bring the lives and work of our revered Ancestors into our everyday lives of the present.
If you would like to know more about how to get involved with the APPCITARJ/U-PITGJ or you would like support with setting up a Maatzoedzaduara please contact PARCOE on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07751143043.
Share Your Story!
One of the roles of the APPCITARJ will be to gather statements from Maangamizi resistors, survivors and anyone else who feels they have been impacted by the Maangamizi and its legacies.
It is our intention to coordinate the collection of individual statements by written, electronic or other appropriate means such as audio-visual recordings with regard to providing a safe, supportive and sensitive environment for individual/collective/group statement taking/truth sharing.
If you would like to begin with compiling your story as a case study or indeed to make a statement about the impact of the Maangamizi, you are invited to contact us to discuss how best this can be done.
1. How best people can be involved and participate in the APPCITARJ? 2. Aims, hopes and fears for the APPCITARJ? 3. Mandate, terms of reference, powers and structure of the APPCITARJ? 4. What are the other ways to deal with the legacies of the Maangamizi and enforce accountability?
4.Participate in the quarterly Ubuntudunia Reparations Rebellion Action Reasonings (URRARs);
5.Contact the M.E.T. to learn about and participate in the APPCITARJ Matemasie Action Learning Test Hearings (APPCITARJ-MALTHs).
It is important that you let us know how you get on with your local MP or other publicly elected officials so that we can keep a record of progress or where there is a need for more focused lobbying. Here are the contact details for the SMWeCGEC. Please also see this guidance on Guidance on Proposals for Parliamentary Actions.
Volunteer Researchers are Required to Contribute to a People’s History-Making Process of Securing Reparatory Justice!
If you are a law or politics student or have other relevant skills and experience and you are interested in using your knowledge and skills to support Afrikan people’s struggle for holistic redress and secure Afrikan Reparatory Justice, you can become a volunteer researcher. We are looking for volunteer researchers who would like to join the SMWeCGEC research team in preparations for establishing the APPCITARJ and the PITGJ. If you would like to get involved, please contact: Afrikan Reparations Transnational Community of Practice (ARTCoP) on email@example.com or the M.E.T.
Support from Movement Lawyers is Welcome!
If you are a social justice advocate, legal practitioner or cause lawyer and would like to offer pro-bono advice or support to this community-led initiative; are willing to build equitable relationships with people and organisations challenging historical and contemporary injustice; and are prepared to respect the approach of social justice/community lawyering,*please also get in touch as above.
*Community lawyering has many variants: collaborative lawyering, community, lay lawyering, cause lawyering, social justice lawyering, political lawyering, critical lawyering, rebellious lawyering, movement-lawyering etc. The common thread among them is that the clients, not the lawyers, play a central role in resolving the issues that have an impact on their opportunities to succeed. It is: lawyering that is community-located, community-collaborative, community-directed and based on the collaboration of lawyers, clients and communities in which they live; and transforming law and lawyering to address the inequalities experienced by subordinated and underserved groups. The legal system in the UK and other Westernised countries is very individualistic. It tends to atomise and depoliticise disputes, which work against a community organising model. Furthermore, the facilitation of individual rights has not benefited the long-term needs of communities, especially impoverished communities, especially where such impoverishment is as a result of intergenerational injustice. The Sargent Shriver National Centre on Poverty Law (USA) defines “community lawyering” as a “process through which advocates contribute their legal knowledge and skills to support initiatives that are identified by the community and enhance the community’s power.”
Similar to the different schools of thought in community organising, community lawyering has many different strains. However, what sets lawyers who adopt community lawyering apart from each other boils down to their answers to the following three questions: Who do you work with? What do you do for them? And how do you work together? Similar to community organising, the answers to these questions vary depending on the political orientation of the lawyer and the theory of social change they ascribe to. By combining legal recourse and community organising, it is possible to utilise “community lawyering” as a social change strategy.” This approach engages lawyers who are prepared to de-emphasise litigation as the primary tool for advancing social justice. Instead, community lawyering encourages such lawyers, in collaboration with communities, their groups, activists and organisers, to critically and creatively examine non-traditional forms of advocacy such as facilitative leadership, institution-building, community organising, collective action and other grassroots actions including strategic litigation, media events, community education workshops and public demonstrations. This is done as a way of addressing the legal and non-legal problems of their clients. Community lawyering can also be described as a more participatory process that fosters collaboration between lawyers and their community (group) clients, rather than fostering—if not perpetuating—the dependency that most clients have on their lawyers to solve their legal problems in a conventional lawyer-client relationship.
The role of a “community lawyer” entails working in partnership with one’s community clients and utilises multiple forms of advocacy, to address their individual as well as systemic problems. Community lawyering practitioners recognise that their clients are partners—not just in name—but in leadership, control and decision-making. Through collaboration, lawyers can support Afrikan Heritage Community groups in building their own resources and community capacities to advance their own interests in effecting and securing reparatory justice in a self-determined and self-directed manner.
Another critical component of community lawyering is creating race-conscious cultural competence—a set of beliefs, values, and skills built into a structure that enables one to negotiate cross-cultural situations in a manner that does not force one to assimilate to the other. The goal of race-conscious community lawyering is to support lasting structural and systemic changes that will bring about holistic reparatory justice for racialised groups.
Movement-lawyering is a specific form of community lawyering. It is rooted in the truth that legal work or even legal victories alone cannot win meaningful change. Throughout OURSTORY, lasting change has only come when social movements, grounded in grassroots activism community organizing that builds the capacity, power and solidarity of people experiencing injustice, become strong enough to shift power dynamics in our societies.
Movement lawyers work to support communities fighting injustice, enabling those most harmed by intersectional forms of oppression to lead the fight for transformative change. This lawyering recognises that community members and organisers have expertise that should be valued. In fact, movement lawyers should also be engaged in a process of political study and growth collectively with organisers that are aligned with particular community struggles. Here are some tips for lawyers that are aligned with movements and are particularly relevant to how lawyers can best support communities, their activists and organisers who are engaged in reparatory justice struggles as part of the ISMAR.
 Priscilla B. Hayner, Unspeakable Truths. New York: Routledge, 2001, p. 14.
First of all, the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations Rebellion Groundings were not organised by Black Lives Matter. They were organised by the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign in partnership with the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March Committee who from 2015 have been co-organising the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March on the 1st August.
This year however, we decided to organise the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations Groundings as a form of peaceful non-violent direct action because we are not being heard in our demand contained in the Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Petition that the UK Government establish the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice and commit to holistic reparations. according to the Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law.
Our peacefully organised non-violent direct action which took the form of these Reparations Rebellion Groundings, was assisted through the Extinction Rebellion Internationalist Solidarity Network and all other sections of Extinction Rebellion for which we made a prior agreement as to how best they could play the roles assigned to them.
The procession of Forever Family and some of the other supporting organisations, which marched from Clapham to Brixton Windrush Square to join the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations Rebellion Groundings was a significant contribution to our overall very successful event.
This is an edited version of the statement provided to, Beth Ani, a journalist with the Morning Star Newspaper, in response to a request made on Sunday 2nd August 2020
I am a journalist at the Morning Star newspaper – i’m wondering if you could send a comment on yesterday’s march and also respond to Nigel Farage’s comments in which he described scenes at the protest as “terrifying” and accused BLM of “diving society.” Let me know if you’re able to comment, many thanks, Beth.
This is the Morning Star article were some of the above comments were included.
Terrifying scenes in Brixton today.
A paramilitary-style force marching in the streets.
This is what the BLM movement wanted from the start and it will divide our society like never before.https://t.co/7bfaSIelCM
As to Nigel Farage’s completely unjustified comments: “Terrifying scenes in Brixton today. A paramilitary-style force marching in the streets. This is what the BLM movement wanted from the start and it will divide our society like never before”, they should be taken for the racist nonsense and deceitful propaganda that they are. Farage’s comments were an abysmal attempt to frighten away allies from supporting these Reparations Rebellion Groundings of our Afrikan Heritage Communities; and connecting their own actions of rebellion to ours. Far from dividing society, this year’s Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations Rebellion Groundings became a cross-community unifying celebration of the internationalist solidarity, and its best traditions, that have always brought together peoples from diverse communities of resistance, within and outside of the UK, to strengthen their cooperation in fighting to eradicate the divisive weapon of racism.
We deliberately organised this year’s Afrikan Emancipation Day activities in ways to counter the use of racism, by the elitist establishment of Global Apartheid racism, to keep all communities of resistance apart from each other, and therefore make it difficult for us to collectively achieve the desired victory of total emancipation for all Humanity to reclaim the Planet and build a multipolar World of Global Justice for All. The deceptive fear mongering of the white supremacy racist ilk of Nigel Farage is not going to stop us progressing this work of rebuilding principled unity in continuation of similar efforts in the past.
Learning from our predecessors, (whose efforts in this same direction were given recognition in the British champions of internationalist solidarity section of our Sankofasafarinta Exhibition at Max Roach Park), as part of the Reparations Rebellion Groundings, we are better prepared now to defend this work of forging principled unity as a necessity for advancing all of us towards the Rendezvous of Victory that our own Pan-Afrikan freedom-fighters like Aimé Césairelong ago envisioned for us. This is what we mean by our slogan ‘Stop the Maangamizi: Build Maatubuntuman in Ubuntudunia!’
Esther Stanford-Xosei, Coordinator General, Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign
Further to our earlier post yesterday (below), it has come to our attention that the Atonement and Reparations for the United Kingdom’s Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Africans motion moved by Islington Green Party Cllr Caroline Russell was amended by Labour Party Cllr Gulcin Ozdemir.
Full Council has passed the amended motion “Atonement and Reparations for the United Kingdom’s Transatlantic Traffic in Enslaved Africans”. Click here for more information: https://t.co/BcATxea4NV#IslingtonFC
One of the significant amendments was removal of the text:
Write to the Speaker of Parliament, Chair of the Women & Equalities Committee and Chair of the Home Office committee to request that they establish, and seek UK Government support for the establishment of an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth and Reparatory Justice and calling on the Government to commit to holistic reparations taking into consideration various proposals for reparations in accordance with the United Nations Framework on Reparations.
Unfortunately, the Islington motion moved by Cllr Caroline Russell and also retained in the amended motion by Cllr Gulcin Ozdemir also omitted (we were told by accident due to working with an older draft of which there were several) this key text:
In 2003 the Lambeth based Black Quest for Justice Campaign (BQJC) initiated a class action for Pan-African Reparations for Global Justice against Queen Elizabeth II and agents of the Crown as Head of State and Head of the British Commonwealth calling for the establishment of a Reparations Commission of Inquiry. This action was denied on the grounds that the Crown could not be prosecuted, and these crimes could not be enforced prior to the enactment of the International Criminal Courts Act in 2001.
In 2004 the Rastafarian movement were denied their appeal for reparation because the UK government felt it could not be held responsible for events of past centuries.
Of course these omissions are unacceptable to us and we await the passing of the Lambeth Council Resolution on 15/07/20.
This motion is largely an outcome of engagement with Cllr Scott Ainslie in demonstration of his commitment made at the 2019 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March to follow-up with a motion on reparations. The motion in Islington was able to pass because of Green Party and Labour Party collaboration and consensus-building around key aspects of the text that the SMWeCGEC contributed and which were added to by members of the Green Party and the Labour Party.
Hearing from #Cofi about how we need to lead humanity back to honouring Mother Earth. @uk_march “we are returning to the wisdom of our ancestors who warned of the dangers of exploiting the earth’s resources” pic.twitter.com/euaiBZ1baK
From the SMWeCGEC’s perspective, one of the highlights of this Islington Council Reparations Motion is recognition of our campaign demand for the establishment of the APPCITARJ, which is an essential phase in a participatory administrative reparations process. In addition to reference to selected landmarks in the UK chronology of campaigning on reparations. We also contributed significant amounts of text to the original Islington and Lambeth motion.
A similar motion was submitted by Green Party Cllr Cleo Lake in Bristol on 7th July 2020.
The first draftedmotionspearheaded by Cllr Ainslie will actually be voted on by Lambeth Council at the forthcoming Council meeting on Wednesday 15th July 2020.
The SMWeCGEC is truly appreciative of Cllr Ainslie and all others that worked with him from the Lambeth Green Party, Greens of Colour, including Cllr Lake and also Cllr Russell, to ensure that such motions could be submitted.
Cllr Scott has truly been exemplary in working in such a way which honours the guidance in the INOSAAR Principles of Participation in recognising the existence of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR); and the necessary ethics that this entails. This includes respecting the existence of historical and contemporary reparations work, research and other initiatives at regional, national and transnational levels.
We are also pleased that engagement with the Green Party which was commenced years earlier (between 2002 – 4) with other Green Party elected officials under the auspices of the then Rendezvous of Victory, has now borne some outcomes that help take the goals of the International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR) Further.
We also take this opportunity for recognising the efforts of Lucie Scott in Hackney who recently got in touch to inform us that she had proposed a motion passed in 2018 which recognised the demand for the APPCITARJ. See here Hackney NSN 2018 IR motionFinal (1) for further info.
The following are a few relevant tweets and other publicity:
Last night Islington Council passed our Green Party motions on reparations and glyphosates 💚
— Cleo4DeputySocialRacialEcoJustice💚🖤⚖️ (@CleoDanceBaton) July 7, 2020
Dr #WalterRodney‘s wisdom is relevant to #Afrikan struggle 4 #Reparations “A struggle doesn’t drop from the sky; it has roots, it has been going on for years; people’s energies, their consciousness, their organizations have evolved in response to specific historical conditions.”
The following video featuring Esther Stanford-Xosei, legal advisor to then existing Black Quest For Justice Campaign (BQJC), is one of the earliest video recordings which tracks the demand for what has now become known as the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice (APPCITARJ). However its modern-day antecedents, as well as that of the Ubuntukgotla People’s International Tribunal For Global Justice (U-PITGJ) can be traced back to the the work of Kofi Mawuli Klu who wrote the following paper Charting an African Self-Determined Path of Legal Struggle for Reparations as a contribution to the 11 December 1993 working conference of the African Reparations Movement (ARM UK), co-founded by the late Bernie Grant MP and others.
The following comments from SMWeCGEC Co-Initiator and Co-Vice Chair, Kofi Mawuli Klu provide another layer of historical context to the significance of this motion for the SMWeCGEC and the wider ISMAR.
Also this comment from Kofi is in response to a dialogue between him and Akyaaba Addai-Sedo based in Ghana about the same motion.
Yes, the awesome beauty of this historic action of the London Borough of Islington, to which the work of yourself, Brother Akyaaba and others of the GLC, contributed upon the foundations laid throughout the ages by Kodwo Enu (Ottobah Cuguano), Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglas, Henry Sylvester Williams, John Archer, Marcus and Akosua Boahemaa Amy Garvey, CLR James, Claudia Jones, Paul Robeson, George Padmore, Ras Makonnen, WEB DuBois, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah and his stalwarts of the Pan-Afrikan Congresses, is the change in Language and concepts insisted upon by our Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide Campaign (SMWECGEC), backed strongly by our colleagues of the INOSAAR based at the University of Edinburgh, and friends of the Green Party! So, for example, instead of the so-called very derogatory insulting ‘Slave Trade’, which the likes of Walter Rodney had very well repudiated as no trade at all, there is now acceptance of our PARCOE formulation that it is the Transatlantic Trafficking of Enslaved Afrikans (TTEA)!
Not yet Uhuru; but there is now being galvanized by new waves of Rebellion at home and abroad our Long March to the victorious Reparatory Justice achievement of the Pan-Afrikan revolutionary winning of Planet Repairs, in order to secure our own MAATUBUNTUMAN Pan-Afrikan Union of our Communities of Resistance, stronger unifying those in our Mothercontinent with those in the diaspora, in a New Global Justice World of UBUNTUDUNIA, not by opportunistically riding upon the topdown ramshackle bandwagons of Neocolonialism like the so-called African Union (AU) of misleaders, but rather by the independently organised grassroots-embedded Worldwide Black Power of our Afrikan People in our own Afrikan Communities of Resistance!
Forward Ever Onward! There is Victory for Us! Amanda Ngawethu!
Elsewhere, Kofi says this:
Thanks, Sister Esther, Yes, our Stretch of the Maangamizi Counteraction Intergenerational Long March of our ancestral Freedomfighting Afrikan Sheroes and Heroes has now come to one of its major decisive Reparatory Justice Turning Points towards our long desired total Pan-Afrikan Liberatory Rendezvous of Planet Repairing Global Justice Victory! Now is Our Time to Seize WISER than ever before to ensure our Pan-Afrikan Reparatory Justice Making of, and Black People’s Power contributions to, the Global Justice Writing of true World Ourstory/History is accelerated to its definitive, irreversible and completely victorious destination! Our MawuLisaga, the almighty God of Afrika and the entire World of, and beyond, Miano Nana Asase Yaa Mother Earth be thanked, with all the gratitude due also to our revered Ancestors, for the day we met to begin battling together for the more systematic movement building harmonization of the collective and individual efforts of our Afrikan people glocally towards the better intellectually organic and organisationally disciplined achievement of this sacred purpose! Akpe: Thank you very much!
The rest of us also agree with Kofi who has rightly stated elsewhere:
The biggest gratitude goes to the God of Afrika and the Pluriverse, to our revered Ancestors and also to all of us who have kept faith with them for a true Reparatory Justice that can only be holistic Planet Repairs in its Global Justice for all meaningfulness! Lots more work to do!
Until next time!
‘Stop the Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide! Campaign International Steering Committee Spearhead Team (ISC-SMWeCGEC)
We in the ‘Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) would like to extend our deep thanks and appreciation for the coverage Got Kush TV provided in preparation for the 2019 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and its all-year round campaigning work conducted through the SMWeCGEC as well as coverage of the March itself.
London UK 1st August 2019 (L to R) Cleo Alberta Lake, Lazarus Tamana , Hon. Kweme Abubaka and Dr Barryl Biekman present the ‘Stop The Maangamizi!’ Petition calling for the establishment of the All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice for the Afrikan Hellacaust at 10 Downing Street as part of the Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March on Emancipation Day, . Emancipation Day marks the anniversary of the 1833 Slavery Abolition Act.
Please note, only copies of the additional 2,828 signatures collected between last year (14,590) and this year (17,418) were handed in with a copy of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition. Every year we tend to copy the same petitions and re-submit them with additional signatures collected. For environmental reasons, it was determined that we would only hand in the additional signatures collected this year until we reach 100,000 signatures that will be handed in all together when that figure is reached. Or in the alternative that the lobbying efforts of MPs and other elected officials via the ‘Stop The Maangamizi!’ Postcard yield the desired results. However, the SMWeCGEC is not relying on securing 100,000 to secure the campaign objectives, as ultimately reparatory justice will be effected, secured and taken by our own People’s Power, supported by other People’s of Conscience as well as our non-Afrikan Allies as part of PRIM-building.
In total 17,418 people have now signed the petition, this includes those who sign the online petition and the paper version.
Although 6 Petitioners were present as identified in the covering letter to the UK pRIME Minister which accompanied the petition, only 4 of the 6-member delegation were able to hand in the petition this year due to 2 members of the delegation unfortunately forgetting their ID.
This is a link to info about the petition hand-ins in the three preceding years:
We in the ‘Stop The Maangamizi: We Charge Genocide/Ecocide!’ Campaign (SMWeCGEC) would like to extend our deep thanks and appreciation for the coverage Got Kush TV provided in preparation for the 2019 Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March and its all-year round campaigning work conducted through the SMWeCGEC.