© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Renowned anti-racist activist Mamadou Ba speaks during a protest in Lisbon
(Edit paragraph 3 to say the monument will have a cane, not a palm tree)
By Victoria Waldersee and Catarina Demony
LISBON (Reuters) – Europe’s leading human rights group on Wednesday said Portugal must do more to confront its colonial past and its role in the transatlantic slave trade to Help fight racism and discrimination in today’s country.
Council of Europe’s comments come as debates in Portugal over how to remember its history have heated up in recent months as the country prepares to inaugurate its first monument. victims of slavery, in Lisbon.
The memorial – painted black cane rows – was designed by Angolan artist Kiluanji Kia Henda and sponsored by the Lisbon Council. It will stand in the center of the city.
Between the 15th and 19th centuries, Portuguese ships carried nearly 6 million Africans enslaved across the Atlantic, more than any other country, but so far Portugal is rare. when commenting on his past actions and little is taught about their role towards school slavery. .
Instead, Portugal’s colonial period, which saw countries including Angola, Mozambique, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor as well as regions of India subject to Portuguese rule, often considered a source of pride.
“Greater efforts are needed for Portugal to face past human rights abuses to address the racist prejudice against African-Americans inherited from its colonial and tribal past. historical slave trade, “the Council of Europe said in its annual report on Portugal, urged Lisbon to rethink how it taught its colonial history.
US Secretary of State Rosa Monteiro said: Racism complaints rose 50% to 655 by 2020 but the number could be much lower than the actual rate of racism cases, Secretary of State for Equality Rosa Monteiro said.
“Our historical story is like a very serious wound that hasn’t been properly healed. And to heal it we have to talk about what happened,” Monteiro told Reuters. At the same time, it said the government was preparing a nationwide plan to combat racism.
Recent race-motivated crimes include a KKK-style protest, shooting and killing a Black actor by a white man in the street and sending threatening emails to Black lawmakers.
Portugal is preparing its first official survey this year to ask people about their ethnic background. The border agency said that in 2019 there were 103,346 Africans officially residing in Portugal while the largest community of migrants was from Brazil, at 151,304.
The Council of Europe also expressed concern over the rise of racist rhetoric in political discourse, eliminating far-right party Chega.
Chega’s lone legislator, Andre Ventura, has made publicly offensive remarks against minorities, including against prominent anti-racist activist Mamadou Ba, who last month was the target of a petition demanding his deportation, arguing that the death of a colonial officer should not be commemorated.
“We’re not trying to rewrite history – we’re saying the history we tell today is not enough,” Ba said at a rally on Sunday. “We want a history that represents all Portuguese people.”
(This story corrects paragraph 3 to say that the monument will have sugar cane, not palm trees)