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Former British colonies demand apology, acknowledgement of genocide, reparations from King Charles III on eve of coronation

By Leopold Munhende

LEADERS of indigenous people from 12 Commonwealth nations have demanded a formal apology from King Charles III for ‘the horrific impact’ of colonisation, which includes genocides.

The grouping represents Antigua and Barbuda, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, The Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The calls, covered in a petition released Friday by ‘Indigenous Peoples, First Nations People and allies from 12 Commonwealth nations’ come a day before King Charles III’s coronation set for May 6 at Westminster Abbey.

An online petition which had garnered about 2,000 signatures by time of publication further demands commencement of a process that will effect reparations and repatriation of artifacts from Britain’s former colonies, now being kept at its various museums.

Britain, at its height held control of 24 percent of the earth’s total land area, covering a population of 412 million people; by 1920 its empire was 35.5 million km2 making it the second largest empire in history after the Ottoman.

“We call on King Charles III to substantiate the Royal Family’s recent expressions of sorrow and regret about its role in slavery. We urge the new monarch to acknowledge the horrific impacts and legacy of genocide and colonisation on Indigenous and enslaved peoples and to commence a process of reparatory justice,” reads the petition.

“Specifically, we request King Charles III to: Issue a formal apology to initiate a conversation about slavery’s enduring impact.

“Recognise British acts of genocide against Indigenous peoples: Commit to discussions about reparations for the oppression of our peoples, the plundering of resources, denigration of culture, and redistribution of wealth back to those it was stolen from.

“Pledge to repatriate all remains of our collective peoples held in UK museums and institutions, representing our family histories, genealogies, cultural history, and spiritual ancestry.

“Commit to returning all cultural treasures and artifacts stolen from our peoples throughout centuries of genocide, enslavement, discrimination, and massacre.

“Encourage the Royal Family to acknowledge and adopt Pope Francis’ renunciation of the “Doctrine of Discovery” from April 2023, and start a process of consultation and reparations for those affected by Native Genocide.”

No African country is part of those demanding the same although Zimbabwe has in the past called on Britain to deliver treasure and artifacts it took from then Rhodesia.

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