Transformative justice, reparations and transatlantic slavery

Evans, Matthew and Wilkins, David (2017) Transformative justice, reparations and transatlantic slavery. Social & Legal Studies. ISSN 0964-6639

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This article considers lessons recent debates concerning transitional and transformative justice, and surrounding transformative reparations, could offer to discussions regarding reparations for transatlantic slavery. Even transitional justice programmes aiming to provide transformative reparations in the form of development programmes (such as healthcare, education and housing provision) have enabled governments to avoid addressing structural causes of inequalities. The article argues that calling for reparations for transatlantic slavery in the form of development projects is potentially regressive. Framing development programmes as reparations, as parts of the Caribbean Community Ten-Point Plan for reparations do, risks presenting these as necessary only because of powerful states’ duty to make amends for past wrongdoing. The article calls for advocates of reparations for transatlantic slavery to be more explicit in demarcating the backward- and forward-looking foundations of their claims. The importance of symbolic and non-financial reparations ought to be more explicitly highlighted as a potential contributor to the social repair of transatlantic slavery’s harmful legacies. Moreover, distributive justice should be explicitly emphasized as being necessary to realize the present-day and future rights of people suffering from the historical legacy of transatlantic slavery and not simply because the present situation is the result of historical injustice.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Reparations; transatlantic slavery; transformative justice; Caribbean Community (CARICOM); human rights; historical wrongs
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Law
School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Centre for Human Rights Research
Depositing User: Matthew Evans
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2017 12:50
Last Modified: 02 Jan 2018 11:07

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