MSPs in the Scottish Parliament this week voted to call on the UK Government to suspend export licences for tear gas, rubber bullets and riot gear to the US. In the debate on June 10th it was also agreed that a Museum of Slavery would be established in Scotland.
In an amendment proposed by the Scottish Greens and backed by SNP, Labour and LibDem colleagues the establishment of a museum to slavery in Scotland would help to address the lack of awareness of the country’s links to the slave trade.
Commenting on the decision by the Scottish Parliament, Co- convenor of the Greens, Patrick Harvie said:
“This is a significant moment, and shows a genuine recognition of the role Scotland has in acknowledging that Black Lives Matter, both on the streets of American cities and in the recognition of our colonial past.
“The Scottish Parliament has given a clear message to the UK Government tonight. We cannot in good conscience supply tear gas and rubber bullets to police forces involved in the systematic targeting of black people and anti-racism protesters. Those exports need to end.
“I’m looking forward to working with others to establish a museum to slavery, which shines a light on why our cities carry tributes and monuments to those involved in the slave trade. It is through education that we recognise the terrible atrocities of the past and show solidarity with our Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities as we build a sustainable future together.”
The debate which was introduced by the Minister for Older People and Equalities, Christina McElvie, was to show solidarity with the anti racism protests taking place across Scotland – and worldwide.
After amendments – the motion which the Scottish Parliament agreed to was as follows:
“That the Parliament understands and shares the deep concern and horror that many feel about racism and racial injustice and police brutality across the world;
expresses and shares the sympathy, grief and anger of so many at the death of George Floyd;
stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and considers that the UK Government must immediately suspend all export licences for tear gas, rubber bullets and riot gear to the US;
recognises that public protest should be conducted safely in the current public health crisis;
encourages people to continue to find safe ways to lend their voice to protest against racism in all its forms;
believes that there is a responsibility on us all to identify and dismantle barriers of structural racism that exist in our society and institutions;
agrees that it is up to all in society to tackle racism and advance race equality;
agrees that Scotland should establish a slavery museum to address our historic links to the slave trade;
regrets the fact that so many monuments and street names still celebrate the perpetrators and profiteers of slavery;
calls on all levels of government to work to address this toxic legacy;
believes that racism is a societal evil that we must all stand united against, and work to eradicate;
welcomes the establishment of the Scottish Government expert advisory group on COVID-19 and the impact on ethnic minority communities, and calls for action now to best support black and minority ethnic (BAME) workers and their families as the health and economic crisis unfolds and for the collection of detailed data through Public Health Scotland on the impact of COVID-19 on BAME groups, to assist in identifying the reasons for differential impacts.”
You can watch the whole debate here: