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African Island Nation Of Sao Tome and Principe To Ask Portugal For Colonial Reparations

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Isabel Abreu, the education and cultural minister of Sao Tome and Principe, an African island nation, announced on Thursday that the government would ask Portugal to make up for the moral harm done by colonization.

The government of Sao Tome and Principe will draft a plan to discuss compensation with Portugal, minister Isabel Abreu said in a statement to Portugal’s Lusa news agency, adding that the process would take time. According to Abreu, the topic will be covered at Thursday’s cabinet meeting.

It follows after Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, when questioned by Reuters last week, stated that his nation was accountable for crimes during the colonial era and transatlantic slavery and implied that reparations were necessary.

His remarks provoked harsh criticism from right-wing parties and a national conversation.

As opposed to Rebelo de Sousa’s, who is also a conservative, remarks, the center-right Portuguese government, which holds executive authority, declared that it will not start any process to make reparations payments. Rather, it demanded reconciliation.

For more than 400 years, Portuguese ships abducted around 6 million Africans, forced them across the Atlantic, and sold them into slavery, mostly in Brazil.

During the Portuguese colonial era, Portugal ruled over nations including Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, East Timor, and certain Asian provinces.

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