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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Commonwealth’s Indigenous representatives demand King Charles apologize for colonialism

Representatives from 12 Commonwealth countries also call for ‘process of reparatory justice’ to commence

Indigenous representatives from 12 Commonwealth countries called on King Charles III to apologize for “the horrific and enduring impacts” of colonialization and the “legacy of genocide.”

“We, the undersigned, call on the British Monarch, King Charles III, on the date of his coronation being May 6, 2023, to acknowledge the horrific impacts on and legacy of genocide and colonisation of the indigenous and enslaved peoples,” the signatories said in a letter, titled Apology, Reparation, and Repatriation of Artefacts and Remains.

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The letter came ahead of Charles’ coronation on Saturday and signed by Indigenous representatives from Antigua and Barbuda, New Zealand, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Our collective Indigenous Rights Organisations among other organisations who are working to help our communities recover from centuries of racism, oppression, colonialism and slavery, now rightly recognized by the United Nations as ‘Crimes Against Humanity,’ also call for a formal apology and for a process of reparatory justice to commence,” it said.

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Indigenous Australian Senator Lidia Thorpe, who called Queen Elizabeth II a “colonizer” during her swearing-in ceremony in parliament last year, is also among signatory representatives.

“Today I join representatives from 12 Commonwealth countries (with the King as head of state) in calling on the new king to recognise British acts of genocide, issue a formal apology to all First Nations and Indigenous peoples impacted by British colonisation,” she said on Twitter.

“We also call for the return of the stolen wealth, artefacts and remains of our people,” Thorpe added.

Buckingham Palace and the UK government have not reacted to the letter so far.