Ecumenical church leaders declared that the “holocaust of Africa” should not be forgotten during a gathering to plan for the 200th anniversary of Britain’s abolition of slavery.
“The global slave trade removed some of the most productive peoples in Africa, resulting in the African holocaust,” stated a delegation representing the World Council of Churches (WCC), the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM).
Representatives of the church bodies discussed how the effects of slavery remain today as seen through racism, economic exploitation and psychological damage to the millions of Africans and their descendants.
Modern forms of slavery include human trafficking, child labor, sex workers, and institutional racism.
“The ecumenical community calls upon people and governments to rise up to their historical duty to recover and reclaim the divinity in all humanity so that economic and racial justice prevails,” the church group stated.
“We further call upon churches, governments and businesses who were unjustly enriched by the slave trade not only to repent but to demonstrate fruits of that repentance.”
The ecumenical gathering was held in Geneva Mar. 15-17 to plan on how to commemorate the adoption of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act of the British House of Commons on Mar. 25, 1807. Delegate members also discussed ways to pass down the slave trade’s legacies including through education programs, international consultation and a transatlantic boat trip to re-enact the journey of the slave.
One member – the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kobia, general secretary of the World Council of Churches – sent a letter to U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair on Mar. 16 urging him to lead Europe in admitting to its involvement in the slave trade and to give an “unambiguous apology" to people of African descent.
The delegates concluded: "After 200 years, the time for talk is over; the poor of the world await urgent and just action."
The United Kingdom will observe the bicentennial anniversary of Britain’s abolition of the slave trade on Sunday, Mar. 25
***By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter