Scottish Parliament urged to issue national apology for slavery

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The Scottish Parliament could issue a national apology for slavery, according to proposals from the Scottish National Party (SNP).

A resolution included in the provisional agenda for the party conference details the historical involvement of Scots in the tobacco, sugar and cotton trade, based on slave labor.

The motion, if passed, would see the Scottish Government, led by the SNP, tasked with deciding whether a national apology from the Scottish Parliament would be possible.

It was proposed for debate at the conference by Anne McLaughlin, parliament minister for Glasgow North East, and Glasgow City Councilor Graham Campbell, who chairs the SNP’s Black Asian Ethnic Minority Caucus.

Such a move would follow the decision of Glasgow City Council, led by the SNP, to apologize for its role in the slave trade.

Enslaved people on board a ship are chained before being put in the hold. Illustration by Swain. A proposal on the provisional agenda for the Scottish National Party conference could see the Scottish Parliament issue a national apology for slavery.
Getty Images/Rischgitz

Council leader Susan Aitken said the blood of trafficked and enslaved Africans was written in the “very bones” of Glasgow.

This followed the publication of a 119-page study by Stephen Mullen of the University of Glasgow, which detailed the city’s links to the slave trade.

He listed eight statues and 62 street names alongside a slew of buildings linked to slavery, usually through trade links to Scottish-owned plantations or ships that transported slaves against their will. across the Atlantic.

Edinburgh City Council has undertaken a similar review of its links to the slave trade, asking people for their opinions and highlighting statues, buildings and street names that may be linked to the slave trade .

Scottish Parliament excuses slavery of enslaved people
Enslaved men in chains, guarded by a native Askari, or soldier, circa 1896. A resolution included in the party’s provisional conference agenda details historic Scots involvement in the tobacco, sugar and cotton trade , based on slave labor.
Archives Hulton/Getty Images

This followed protests in the Scottish capital during the global Black Lives Matter movement in July 2020 following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

These protests have led to a new plaque detailing the slave trade links of the man commemorated on Edinburgh’s tallest monument, the Henry Dundas Monument in St. Andrew Square.

The conference motion reads: “The conference, however, notes the general lack of public awareness of the key role played by Scotland in the development of the ruthless system of exploitation of enslaved African labor in these colonies. .

“The conference believes that honesty and acknowledgment of the past is something most people in Scotland are open to.

Statue of Henry Dundas
A view of the statue of Henry Dundas, 1st Viscount Melville, said to have had a gradual approach to ending slavery on June 10, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. A resolution included in the provisional agenda for the SNP conference details the historical involvement of Scots in the tobacco, sugar and cotton trade, based on slave labour.
Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

“The Conference therefore resolves to ask the Scottish Government to consider the possibility of the Scottish Parliament issuing a formal national apology for Scotland’s central role in the perpetuation of slavery and its colonial and post-colonial legacies and urges that to work closely with representatives of the Scottish Parliament the Caribbean Diaspora and with business, community and arts organizations towards the establishment of restorative justice, primarily through education public awareness, social memory and historical.”

The resolution also calls on the Scottish National Party to support calls for a national slavery museum in Glasgow and to increase the scale of links between Scotland and Jamaica as an act of ‘restorative justice’ .

Earlier this year the Prime Minister issued a formal apology to those killed under the Witchcraft Act 1563 and pardoned miners arrested in the 1984-85 strikes.

The motion will go through an internal process within the SNP before the party’s conference committee decides whether it will be debated at the Scottish National Party conference in Aberdeen.

Produced in collaboration with SWNS.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

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