Sweden may consider slave trade reparations

Dec. 14, 2013 at 3:07 PM

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The top Swedish diplomat in the Caribbean said his country should take seriously efforts to win reparations for the European slave trade in the region.

An international coalition of Caribbean governments has been studying the impact of the colonial era trans-Atlantic slave trade. While a final report isn't due until February, diplomats said the Caribbean island states will likely formally request some form of reparations from eight European governments, including Sweden, TheLocal.se reported Saturday.

While the Swedes aren't traditionally thought of as a colonial powerhouse, the nation did claim ownership over the island of St. Barthelemey from 1784 to 1847.

The other European nations on the list are Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, and Denmark.

Sweden's Caribbean ambassador Claes Hammar said his government should take the reparations request seriously.

"I'm not totally surprised. Sweden did after all have a colony in the Caribbean so it's not wrong for us to be a part of the discussion," he said. "This is a serious matter and we have to have respect for the process."

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