MSN News:- The European parliament has overwhelmingly backed a watershed resolution calling for reparations for crimes committed in Africa during European colonialism.
The bill urges European member states to introduce a series of sweeping reforms aimed at tackling ‘structural racism’ facing millions of Afro-Europeans.
It calls on the countries to implement nation-wide strategies to deal with discrimination in education, health, housing, policing, the justice system and politics.
The resolution – approved by 535 MEPs, with 80 votes against and 44 abstentions – also calls on European member states to declassify their colonial archives, covering the most disturbing periods of Europe’s colonial past, and issue public apologies.
It urges the EU to adopt ‘a workforce diversity and inclusion strategy’ to address the underrepresentation of ethnic minority officials.
As it stands, the EU does not share data on race, ethnicity or religion because it’s considered contrary to equality, The Guardian reports.
The text is not legally-binding, but it was hailed as a watershed moment campaign groups for specifically focusing on the discrimination faced on the continent by an estimated 15 million people.
‘Histories of injustices against Africans and people of African Descent – including enslavement, forced labour, racial apartheid, massacre, and genocides in the context of European colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade – remain largely unrecognised and unaccounted for at an institutional level in EU member states,’ the text states.
The resolution was drawn up by British Labour MEP Claude Moraes and was inspired by the racist behavior experienced by Italian socialist MEP Cecile Kyenge, who served as Italy’s first black government minister.
Pressure is now on the European commission to fund the schemes in the EU’s next seven-year budget.
Amel Yacef, the chair of the European Network Against Racism, told The Guardian the vote was ‘a historic, watershed moment for the recognition of people of African descent in Europe’.
She added: ‘The European parliament is leading the way and sending a signal to EU member states to tackle structural racism that prevents black people from being included in European society. The ball is now in their court: we need concrete action plans and specific measures now.’