AbstractsLaw & Legal Studies

Global Justice and Colonial Legacy

by Marie Amalie Lundstrøm

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Justice; The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade; West Indies; CARICOM
Record ID: 1121467
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/15758


This thesis investigates the case of the current call for compensation for the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from the Caribbean Community Secretariat, CARICOM. 15 Caribbean nations united under the CARICOM Reparations Commission (CRC), represented by the British law firm Leigh Day, are calling upon the former slave-owning nations in Europe; Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark to “engage Caribbean governments in reparatory dialogue to address the living legacies of these crimes” (CARICOM Reparations Commission, press statement, 10 December 2013). The focus of this thesis is on the both the theoretical notion of global justice, and the responsibility for compensating for historical injustices in particular the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Using political philosophical theories of justice, this thesis investigates the moral implications of the case, and ask whether Denmark ought to provide compensation for its role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The answer is that the nation state as a transgenerational community inherits and passes on the responsibility to maintain and fulfil promises between current citizens, predecessors and successors. If Denmark is guilty of violating the obligations laid out in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1965) as proposed by the CARICOM, Denmark has at least a moral obligation to rectify the violations of this promise.