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7835: French parliament condemns slavery (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

     PARIS, May 10 (Reuters) - A text condemning slavery as a crime against
humanity and calling for annual commemorations to mark its abolition in
1848 was voted into law by the French parliament on Thursday.
     The bill, which was adopted by the Senate second chamber after being
approved by the National Assembly, was introduced to parliament in 1998 by
Christiane Taubira-Delannon, a left-wing deputy from the South American
former colony of French Guiana.
     "The French Republic acknowledges that the transatlantic and Indian
Ocean slave trade and slavery perpetrated from the 15th century onwards in
America and in the Caribbean, in the Indian Ocean and in Europe against
African, native American, Madagascar and Indian populations, are a crime
against humanity," it says.
     Both chambers voted unanimously on the text.
     Taubira-Delannon, who is allied to the Socialist Party of Prime
Minister Lionel Jospin, has called for a commission to be set up to decide
whether slave descendants should receive reparations.
     France's slave trade flourished from the 16th century until the time
of the French Revolution in 1794. It was reinstituted by Napoleon Bonaparte
in 1802 before being definitively abolished on April 27, 1848.
     The bill says slavery and the slave trade must be discussed in history
textbooks and studied in research programmes. The annual date for the
commemoration of its abolition is yet to be fixed.