The government of Peru has officially apologized for the first time to its citizens of African descent for centuries of “abuse, exclusion and discrimination.” The executive resolution, published Nov. 28 in the official newspaper El Peruano, states that discrimination against black Peruvians still exists and is “a barrier for social, economic, labor and educational development.” Women and Social Development Minister Nidia Vilchez said the government hopes its apology will help promote the “true integration of all Peru’s multicultural population.” But critics point out that the apology does not explicitly refer to slavery or state plans for reparations or changing the status quo for Afro-Peruvians.
Afro-Peruvians’ ancestors first arrived in the 16th century as the slaves of Spanish conquerors. They today make up an estimated 10% of the country’s 28 million people. Slavery was abolished in Peru in 1854. (BBC News, Nov. 29; RPP, Peru, Nov. 28)
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