Cross Cultural Conversation: Reparations for Chattel Slavery

Wednesday 24 July 2024 15:30 - 17:00

Location: The Moot Courtroom, 232, Riverside Building

riverside building

Join us online or in person for our Cross Cultural Conversation event, which engages scholars, legal practitioners, and policy makers.

Reparations for Chattel Slavery: A Call From the ‘Periphery’ to Decolonise International (Human Rights) Law

Cross Cultural Conversation IV is anchored by the Forum for the Study of Jurisprudence and Value Inquiry (JVI). The Forum has active participants from universities within and outside the United Kingdom and is supported by the University’s Equality and Diversity Forum.

This hybrid event takes place at the Moot Courtroom (Riverside Building, 232) of the School of Law and Society. The JVI Forum has active participants from universities within and outside the United Kingdom. Our approach to the Conversations is both interdisciplinary and cross cultural. For now, the focus is on the Non-Western World: we seek to gain insight into worldviews and values that shape scholarship and engagement with local laws and legal education.


This article proposes a reimagining of the international human rights system to offer a legitimate place for reparations for chattel slavery and thus enable an effective challenge to pressing injustices such as racial discrimination and its ramifications. Despite being a region that has been birthed from such profound historical injustices that still affect the full realisation of human rights today, the Caribbean and its human rights challenges and calls for justice have been relegated to and maintained at the periphery of international human rights law. For that reason, this article focuses on reparations for slavery emanating from the Caribbean. Drawing on Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), it argues that the inability of international legal systems to respond to historical injustices indicates that the colonial imagination, constructed on the compass of exclusion, is still the foundation of international human rights law and of modern, postcolonial societies. The article thus advocates for decolonising international human rights law to accommodate a more inclusive future for human rights.

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