Following the proposal of MEP Younous Omarjee, this designation was part of an 11-page resolution on demonstrations against racism, with the following title : ‘Black lives matter’, a reference to the slogan of the US-based world movement against racism and police violence.
In his speech to the European Parliament, Younouss Omargee said :
“We must see that this event is the result of centuries of black domination in the United States and unequal conditions in Europe. Let us bear in mind that our own European history has always swung like a pendulum between barbarity and civilised behaviour. Despite all reason, despite the Enlightenment, it was nevertheless in Europe that the very worst theories of racial hierarchy were born, created to justify conquests, slavery, colonisation and the Holocaust.”
The proposal was ratified by a large majority : 493 votes in favour, 104 against and 67 abstentions :
“The European Parliament calls on institutions and Member States of the European Union to officially recognise the injustices of the past and the crimes against humanity committed against black people and people of colour, declaring that the slave trade be a crime against humanity and calling for December 2nd to be designated as the European Day for the Commemoration of the Abolition of the Slave Trade. We encourage Member States to include the history of black people and people of colour in their school curricula.”
On May 21st, 2001, France officially recognised the slave trade and slavery as a crime against humanity through legislation called the Taubira law, named after the Guyanese Member of Parliament who first initiated the bill and then presented it in the French National Assembly.