Posted on May 7, 2024

Island Nation of Sao Tome and Principe to Ask Portugal for Colonial Reparations

Catarina Demony, Reuters, May 2, 2024

The government of the African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe will ask Portugal to repair the moral damages caused by colonialism, the country’s education and cultural minister said on Thursday.

Speaking to Portugal’s Lusa news agency, minister Isabel Abreu said the Sao Tome and Principe government would draw up a plan to negotiate reparations with Portugal, adding the process would take time.

Abreu said the issue was set to be discussed at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

It comes after Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, questioned by Reuters, said last week his country was responsible for crimes committed during transatlantic slavery and the colonial era, and suggested there was a need for reparations.

His comments sparked a national debate and strong criticism from right-wing parties.

The centre-right Portuguese government, which has executive powers, said it would not initiate any process to pay reparations, contrary to comments from Rebelo de Sousa, a conservative himself. It called for reconciliation instead.


Brazil’s Minister of Racial Equality, Anielle Franco, told news portal G1 her team was in contact with the Portuguese government to discuss the issue.