Analysis: RTRA Press Conference – What Is The Right To Return?

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Analysis: Defining "The Right To Return" (RTR)
Document read at the Press Conference 7 Feb 2022

The Right To Return (RTR) is the recognition by international society that as many as 250 million members of the African Diaspora, recognized as the Sixth Region of the African Union, are descendants of the people taken as prisoners of war during what is commonly called the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. As such, we have the immediate right to be returned to the territory of our ancestor that survived the middle passage and be recognized as citizens with a unique immigration status, policies and programmes by the government(s) claiming the territory as within its national boundaries.

The RTR is based first on a principle of traditional African spirituality that identity was formed by the knowledge and preservation of one’s maternal lineage, transmitted from mother to daughter and paternal lineage, transmitted from father to son.
Depending on each family’s village tradition, identity, and all that it included – language, culture, spirituality, land, and one’s place in the world and universe (history), was determined either by maternal or paternal lineage. Health and well-being, therefore, required the preservation of one’s lineage. If you did not preserve your lineage, you lost your location or place in the world. Thus, the first priority of the RTR is restoring the lineage identity of the descendants of the prisoners of war that were taken from territories on the African continent and subsequently suffered ETHNOCIDE – the loss of their ethnic and cultural identities.

The RTR is based second on the historical fact that Pope Nicholas V and the King of Portugal declared War against the land of “Guine” on June 18, 1452 in a document called the
Dum Diversas. The document stated, “we grant to you full and free power, through the Apostolic authority by this edict, to invade, conquer, fight, subjugate the Saracens and pagans, and other infidels and other enemies of Christ. . . . . AND TO LEAD THEIR PERSONS IN PERPETUAL SERVITUDE, AND TO APPLY AND APPROPRIATE REALMS, DUCHIES, ROYAL PALACES, PRINCIPALITIES AND OTHER DOMINIONS, POSSESSIONS AND GOODS OF THIS KIND TO YOU AND YOUR USE AND YOUR SUCCESSORS THE KINGS OF PORTUGAL.”

This declaration of total war is now considered a crime against humanity and was followed up with monopoly contracts known as “Asientos” which were variously given to private merchants from 1518 to 1595, to Portugal from 1595 to 1640, to the Genoese from 1662 to 1671, to the Dutch and Portuguese from 1671 to 1701, to France from 1701-1713, the British from 1713 to 1750, and the Spanish from 1765 to 1779. In the United States, several colonies became combatants to the Dum Diversas War when they legalized slavery: Massachusetts in 1641; Connecticut in 1650; Virginia in 1657 and Maryland in 1663. Other colonies followed and the United States of America officially entered the Dum Diversas War trafficking of people from Guinea after American independence in 1776.
 
As a result of the Dum Diversas Declaration of War:-
 
  • Portugal and Brazil were and are responsible for at least 7,300 slave voyages (26.8%) and at least 5,074,900 (45.9%) of the people who were forcibly, illegally, and immorally transported from the African continent and, using Cooper’s order of magnitude, were and are responsible for the murder, kidnapping and enslavement of more than 73 million people of African lineage and heritage;
  • Britain was and is responsible for at least 11,632 slave voyages (42.7%), and at least 3,112,300 (28.1%) of the people who were forcibly, illegally and immorally transported from the African continent, thereby being responsible for the murder, kidnapping and enslavement of 52.2 million people of African lineage and heritage;
  • France was and is responsible for at least 4,038 voyages (14.8%) and at least 1,456,000 (13.2%) of the people who were forcibly, illegally and immorally transported from the African continent, thereby being responsible for the murder, kidnapping and enslavement of 21.6 million people of African lineage and heritage;
  • Spain was and is responsible for at least 1,116 slave voyages (4.1%), and at least
    517,000 (4.7%) of the people who were forcibly, illegally and immorally transported from the African continent, thereby being responsible for the murder, kidnapping and enslavement of 8.5 million people of African lineage and heritage;
  • The United States was and is responsible for at least 834 slave voyages (2.3%) from 1776 to 1808 and at least 114,960 (1%) of the people who were forcibly, illegally and immorally transported from the African continent, thereby being responsible for the murder, kidnapping and enslavement of 1.7 million people of African lineage and heritage;
Almost every country of the Western Hemisphere, and especially the British Mainland of North America, the British Leewards, the British Windwards and Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, the Spanish American Mainland, the Spanish Caribbean, Northeast Brazil, Bahia, Southeast Brazil and other areas, participated in some degree, in the criminal Trans-Atlantic Trafficking of people with African lineage and heritage;

Finally, the RTR is based on a principle of justice expressed in the 1949 Geneva Convention: Article 4 (1) defines prisoners of war and Article 5 states,
“the present Convention shall apply to the persons referred to in Article 4 from the time they fall into the power of the enemy and until their final release and repatriation.”

The year 2022 is the year that international society is held accountable for providing for the Repatriation (“Right to Return”) under the Geneva Convention, for all descendants of the prisoners of the Dum Diversas War. 
 
Author: Brassa Mada aka Siphiwe Baleka, Founder
Balanta B’urassa History & Genealogy Society in America
Member, Inclusive Policy Lab of the UNESCO E-team for the People of African Descent and the Sustainable Development Goals
Member, NCOBRA
WhatsApp Guinea Bissau +245 956 931 329
 
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