As some world leaders gather in New York for their annual UN General Assembly rituals, the September 22 debate on “Reparations, racial justice, and equality for people of African descent” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 2001 Durban racism conference will be particularly significant.

One of the most important recent developments is the agreement by the German government in May to pay €1.1bn in compensation for the genocide in its then colony of Southwest Africa (now Namibia) between 1904 and 1908...

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