08 April 2015

University of Hawai'i Summit to address Militarisation of the Pacific

Civil Beat

The symposium will feature panels focused on the Marshall Islands, Mariana Islands, French Polynesia and Hawaii.

The University of Hawaii Asian-Pacific Law & Policy Journal is hosting a symposium this month exploring the impact of militarization on Micronesian and Polynesian islands.
The event, entitled “Bombs in Paradise: A Legal, Social, and Political Discussion of Militarization in the Pacific”, will take place on April 17 at the University of Hawaii law school campus.
Sailor's Hat on Kahoolawe where the Navy dropped a 500lb TNT bomb to simulate the effects of an atomic blast.9.30.14
Sailor’s Hat on Kahoolawe where the Navy dropped a 500lb TNT bomb to simulate the effects of an atomic blast.
The symposium will feature panels focused on the Marshall Islands, Mariana Islands, French Polynesia and Hawaii. Julian Aguon, a Guam native who is an attorney, author and activist, will give the keynote speech.
In Hawaii, state lawmakers are figuring out how much money to set aside this year to support the restoration of the former bombing range Kahoolawe, once known as “Target Island.”
For more background on Kahoolawe, read Civil Beat’s series Promised Land.

Chagos islanders ‘betrayed’ by UK failure to decide on their return

The Guardian

Supporters of Chagossians’ return to the Indian Ocean atolls condemn the government’s postponement and ‘lack of political courage’

Supporters of the inhabitants of a British overseas territory deported from their homeland are furious that the government has reneged on a promise that it would decide before the election on whether they could return.

Shortly before parliament disbanded, the government said it would delay confirming whether the Chagossian people could go back to the Chagos Islands, a series of atolls in the Indian Ocean. The main island, Diego Garcia, has been leased to the US military since 1966. That agreement expires next year. 

Novelist Philippa Gregory, secretary of the UK Chagos Support Association, branded the delay “another serious betrayal of the Chagossian community”. She added: “Chagossians have suffered in exile for years, and it is disgraceful the government has failed to deliver a small measure of justice by supporting return.” Television presenter and author Ben Fogle will hand a petition to Downing Street after the election urging the next government to let the Chagossians go back.


United Nations publishes 2015 reports on British dependencies

Image result for decolonization

The United Nations has begun to release its informational Working Papers for 2015 on the 17 non self-governing territories. Below are links to the six dependencies administered by the United Kingdom in the Caribbean. The reports are prepared annually by the Decolonisation Unit of the Department of Political Affairs, and are used by the member States of the U.N. Decolonisation Committee as they review the political, constitutional, and socio-economic developments in each territory and make recommendations to the General Assembly on measures to advance the decolonisation process.   

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According to the latest Report of the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) on the U.N. system support to the decolonisation process (2007), the production of the annual Working Papers on the 17 non self-governing territories are the "primary way" the Decolonisation Unit supports the Special Committee (on Decolonisation). The OIOS Report indicated that the research, analysis and drafting of the Working Papers constitute the Unit’s main output" utilising "some 73 per cent of the total Unit work months." 

These Papers also constitute the main substantive documents for the annual regional seminars originally designed in 1990 to alternate between the Caribbean and Pacific, and to focus on the small island territories which constitute most of the remaining dependencies.

United Nations Working Papers 2015
British-administered dependencies


International Reparations Summit to Convene in New York

31-35 95th  Street, East Elmhurst, NY 11369 ♦ 718.429.1415 ♦ info@ibw21.org  ♦ www.ibw21.org
Contact:Don Rojas
Tel: 410-844-1031
Email: donjbrojas@gmail.comWeb: www.ibw21.org

International Black Reparations Summit to Meet in New York

Organized by The Institute of the Black World (IBW)

New York, March 26—The Institute of the Black World 21st Century IBW), a leading research, policy and advocacy group with offices in New York and Baltimore, announced today that it is holding an International Reparations Summit at various sites across New York City, from April 9 to 12, 2015.
Speakers at the conference include Prof. Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West Indies and chair of the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Reparations Commission; civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, Prof. Charles Ogeltree of Harvard University and Mireille Fanon Mendes France, President of the Frantz Fanon Foundation and Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African descent and daughter of Frantz Fanon, the Black liberation theoretician and psychiatrist from Martinique.
During the Summit, U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the most senior member of Congress and the dean of the Congressional Black Caucus, will be honored for authoring HR 40, the “Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act” and for his 50 years of service on Capitol Hill.
“We are delighted that the Institute of the Black World can be a clearinghouse for ideas and strategies on how to pursue reparations for historical crimes and injustices against people of African descent in the US and across the Americas,” said Dr. Ron Daniels, the Institute’s President. “The courageous decision by nations in the Caribbean to demand reparations from the former European colonialists for Native Genocide and African enslavement and the formation of a CARICOM Reparations Commission is re-energizing the Reparations Movement in the U.S. and throughout the Pan African world.”
Scores of reparations advocates, Pan-Africanists and social justice activists from across the USA, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean will take part in the New York summit. Leaders of national reparations commissions, committees and task forces from 11 CARICOM nations will interface with leaders of the recently formed European Reparations Commission and with members of the National African-American Reparations Commission (NAARC) which will be formally launched during the conference.
The NAARC will comprise of some of the leading scholars, activists, attorneys, economists and historians in Black America. In the months ahead, the NAARC will hold a series of town hall meetings across the country designed to solicit ideas from African-American communities on what should constitute a comprehensive program that advocates for reparations for the historical crimes of slavery and segregation.
“The main purpose of the International Summit is to advance the public discussion and debate around reparations issues and to provide a platform for advocates from around the world to dialogue, learn from each other, strategize collectively, support and reinforce each other’s campaigns, build bridges across geographical and linguistic barriers and co-ordinate action plans,” said Don Rojas, IBW’s director of communications. “The international nature of this summit is unprecedented in the long (and all too often ignored and marginalized) history of the reparations movement in the Americas.”
The conference, whose opening and closing public sessions are to be Webcast and audiocast live by WBAI-Pacifica Radio and Sirius XM Satellite Radio, will be held in three of New York City’s five boroughs—Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
The conference begins at the historic Mother AME Zion Church in Harlem, the oldest black church in New York State and a center for the Underground Railroad back in the 19th Century. The business sessions will be held at York College in Queens and the summit will conclude with a public rally at the First AME Zion Church in Central Brooklyn, home to the largest Caribbean community in the United States.
One of the highlights at the closing rally will be inspirational music sung by a newly formed ‘Reparations Choir’, composed of members from several black churches in Brooklyn.
The three-day meeting will honor pioneers in the fight for reparations for Black Americans, including Callie House (1861-1928), a former slave who demanded that $68 million in taxes on Confederate cotton seized by the North be given to Blacks as reparations, and Queen Mother Moore (1898-1997), a longtime Harlem activist who popularized the reparations idea in the middle 20th century. It will also pay tribute to the tireless work over many years of The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA).
“Reparations is not an issue of the distant past,” said Dr. Daniels. “The Japanese-American community demanded—and got—reparations in the late 1980s for how they were treated by the American government—their own government—during World War II,” he said, referring to the internment of those Japanese by the United States.
“And in 2015, the parliaments of Russia and Greece are voting to demand Germany pay them for the damage inflicted on them by the Nazis,” he added. “So this issue is not, and should not, go away, particularly when African-descended people are concerned.”
Reparations is an issue that has occasionally flared up in Black political circles since the end of slavery in the mid-19th Century. It has been publicly opposed by several U.S. Presidents and dismissed by most white Americans but it has always found a place on the Black political agenda.
At the UN’s Conference on Racism in Durban, South Africa in 2001, the Atlantic slave trade and chattel slavery was declared a “crime against humanity” and was described as the greatest holocaust in human history. Hundreds of reparations activists from the USA and the Caribbean participated actively in the Durban conference, which helped to infuse the reparations movements with new energy at the beginning of the 21st Century. But that energy petered out in the first decade of the new century.
IBW, however, believes that today this pattern is changing. A June 2014 cover story in The Atlantic magazine, “The Case for Reparations,” by prominent journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, generated much discussion in African-American communities as well as within elite white American intellectual and political circles.
IBW maintains that the work of the National African-American Reparations Commission will have to be resourced by black communities across the country. “Black people and those sympathetic to the cause will have to finance this initiative,” Dr. Daniels explained. “We can’t expect corporations or foundations to underwrite a campaign for Reparations for Black people. In the spirit of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey, IBW is counting on contributions from the people to finance the work of the commission.”
The IBW International Reparations Summit comes two years after the 15-nation CARICOM group decided unanimously to form a reparations commission and to demand that the former European colonial and slave-trading powers pay the debt owed to African people in the Caribbean region for the enormous wealth made off of their forced and uncompensated labor during the centuries of African enslavement.
And in January 2014 CARICOM issued a 10-point program for “Reparitory Justice” that frames their reparations demands as a “development strategy”. The program’s stated goal is “to use reparations payments to deal collectively with pressing economic and educational problems facing the citizens of the Caribbean that trace their origins to the underdevelopment imposed by slavery, slave trading, native genocide, and economic exploitation by the European nations”.
CARICOM’s 10-Point Program enjoys the unanimous support of all the member countries in the Community of Caribbean and Latin American States  (CELAC) and the Bolivarian alliance for the Peoples of the Americas  (ALBA).
For more information on IBW’s International Reparations Summit, please visit www.ibw21.org.
About The Institute of the Black World
The Institute of the Black World 21st Century (IBW) is committed to enhancing the capacity of Black communities in the U.S. and globally to achieve cultural, social, economic and political equality and an enhanced quality of life for all marginalized people. The Institute was conceived as a resource center and engine for capacity-building and empowerment of Black organizations and communities, utilizing cooperative and collaborative methods and strategies.
The group emerged as an outgrowth of the State of the Black World Conference which attracted some 2,500 African American scholars, activists, organizers and concerned individuals to Atlanta in 2001. Convened by a core group of veteran social and political activists led by Dr. Ron Daniels (former Executive Director, National Rainbow Coalition; Deputy Campaign Manager, Jesse Jackson for President, 1988 and Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights), the birth of IBW was more than a decade in the making.
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