Commonwealth reps ask king to apologize for impacts of colonization
Sydney, Australia, May 4 (EFE).- Representatives from 12 Commonwealth countries have joined to demand that King Charles III formally apologize for the impact of British colonization on indigenous peoples, including “genocide,” “slavery” and “plunder.”
“We are calling on [Charles…] to acknowledge the horrific and enduring impacts of the legacy of genocide and colonization on Indigenous and enslaved peoples,” wrote Nova Peris, former senator and co-chair of the Australian Republican Movement, a signatory to the statement.
The joint statement, sent to the king and titled: “Apology, Reparation, and Repatriation of Artefacts and Remains,” urges the monarch to issue a formal apology, recognize the British acts of genocide against indigenous peoples and repatriate sacred objects and remains being held in British museums and institutions.
The petition also reminds the king of his own words during a meeting of Commonwealth heads of government in Rwanda in June 2022, where he said that the Commonwealth needs to “find new ways to acknowledge our past. Quite simply, this is a conversation whose time has come.”
Representatives of 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, who all have King Charles as head of State, signed the statement, urging the Crown to “redistribute the wealth (…) back to the peoples from whom it was stolen.”
It also asks the king to “immediately start the conversation” around the enduring impact of slavery on indigenous people during British colonization, as well as other issues such as “reparations for the oppression of our peoples, plundering of our resources, denigration of our culture.”
Another of the demands is that the monarch renounce the so-called Doctrine of Discovery, as the Vatican did in March.
This doctrine, together with the principle of “terra nullius” (no man’s land), were used as legal and religious standings to justify colonization, seize land and subjugate indigenous peoples.
The signatories of the statement consider that rejecting the doctrine would pave the way for “consultation and reparations for the First Peoples who suffered the consequences of Native Genocide in fulfilment of that doctrine in the name of God.”
“We hope this petition begins a process towards justice,” said Peris.
The coronation of Charles and his wife, Camilla, as king and queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth countries will take place on Saturday at Westminster Abbey in London. EFE