Current Projects on Race and Global Political Economy
> Reparations under International Law for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery
2021 Symposium on the Illegality of Transatlantic Chattel Slavery
In May 2021, CGEJ Director Chantal Thomas, with Natalie Reid of Debevoise & Plimpton, co-chaired the organization of a Symposium on Reparations under International Law for Enslavement of African Persons in the Americas and the Caribbean, co-sponsored by the American Society of International Law (ASIL) and The University of the West Indies (UWI). The Symposium, held on May 20-21, 2021, brought together leading experts from around the world to discuss issues of legality and remedies as related both to transatlantic chattel slavery and to its legacies of systemic racism and discrimination. Convened by Judge Patrick Robinson of the International Court of Justice during his term as ASIL Honorary President, and featuring opening remarks by Sir Hilary Beckles, UWI Vice-Chancellor, the experts discussed critical questions related to reparations for the descendants of Africans who were enslaved in the Americas and the Caribbean, including:
- What was the historical and social context for the business of transatlantic chattel slavery?
- Was chattel slavery permitted, or prohibited, by the international law of the time?
- How can the economic basis for reparations be assessed?
- What are the possible remedies now for enslavement and its legacy?
2023 Symposium on the Quantification of Damages due to Transatlantic Chattel Slavery
In 2023, a second Symposium was convened under Judge Robinson’s leadership for the purposes of determining the valuation of damages for the unlawful practice of transatlantic chattel slavery. The Symposium co-organizers benefited tremendously from the time and expertise furnished pro bono by the Brattle Group consultancy firm, which undertook a large-scale team analysis to produce an expert valuation report. The 2023 Symposium featured the presentation and discussion of the preliminary findings of that report, and the Proceedings are available for viewing here.
2023 Launch Event for the Brattle Group Report on Reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery
The University of the West Indies Centre for Reparation Research hosted a launch event to present the final version of the Brattle Group Report on Reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery, whose preliminary findings had been the subject of the 2023 Symposium (see above). The proceedings were broadcast on UWI TV and featured an Introduction by Judge Patrick Robinson of the International Court of Justice and a presentation of the Report’s findings by Coleman Bazelon of the Brattle Group. Commentary was provided by Robert Beckford and CGEJ Director Chantal Thomas, The final version of the Brattle Group Report on Reparations for Transatlantic Chattel Slavery in the Americas and the Caribbean, with an Introduction by Judge Robinson, is available here.