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Vatican seeks amends for slave trade

 As delegates gather in Durban, South Africa, for the UN Conference Against Racism, the Vatican is urging countries that took part in the slave trade to issue an apology, and consider ways of compensating people whose ancestors were slaves. Ten years ago, the Pope asked for forgiveness for Christian's role in slavery, during his visit to Africa. This new document, brought to the eight-day conference by Vatican delegates, outlines the Catholic position on issues to be discussed. In taking up the cause, the Vatican is lining up with Senegal, South Africa and others in supporting the search for a way to make amends. The United States, the UK and other former colonial powers that traded in slaves from Africa for hundreds of years, are said to be concerned about the issue, fearing that an admission of past responsibility could lead to huge compensation claims. AP report that Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade has said he wants an acknowledgment of the slave trade as a crime against humanity. "In Europe, they were sold as goods, and that's what's important, and that's what should be considered a crime against humanity," Wade said. He pointed out that some Catholic priests once decreed Africans have no souls, "so you can sell them like beasts." For more news from the conference, visit the website of the UN World Conference Against Racism which is at: www.unhchr.ch/html/racism/index.htm