Political Apologies

AHDA Political Apology

How does the act of apologizing enable societies to come to terms with their past?

Political apologies can be a powerful tool in the re-examination of a nation's history, and the significance this history has on democratic processes. The project includes a working list of political apologies throughout history that political scientist Graham Dodds has researched and compiled.

This is a working list of major political apologies and related events. The selection criteria for compiling the list are somewhat loose, but the intent is to include any and all apologies that involve states, nations, or major political groups and actors, generally for significant public wrongs. Thus, apologies by individual politicians for more narrow matters (e.g., alleged personal or criminal failings) are generally excluded.

Should you wish to add to the list, please e-mail ahda@columbia.edu.

Displaying 476 - 500 of 755
Date of Apology Title Summary Source
3 July 2007 NATO expresses regret for the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan

NATO expresses regret for the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan.

Blanchfield, Mike. “NATO regrets civilian deaths.” Montreal Gazette. July 4, 2007.
8 July 2007 France- traditional Bastille Day pardon of prisoners.

 French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will not issue a traditional Bastille Day pardon of prisoners.

Balmer, Crispian. “No getting out of Bastille this year.” Montreal Gazette. July 9, 2007.
15 July 2007 USA- sexual abuse by Catholic priests

U.S. Cardinal Roger Mahony apologizes for sexual abuse by Catholic priests and agrees to pay $660 million to the victims.

Milliken, Mary. “Church to pay $660 million to abuse victims.” Montreal Gazette. July 16, 2007.
15 July 2007 Israel offers amnesty to 180 Fatah militants after they pledge to end attacks

 Israel offers amnesty to 180 Fatah militants after they pledge to end attacks.

Entous, Adam. “Israel offers amnesty to Fatah militants.” Montreal Gazette. July 16, 2007.
29 August 2007 The U.S. military- seizing 8 Iranians in Iraq

 
 The U.S. military expresses regret for seizing 8 Iranians in Iraq.

Deshmukh, Jay. “U.S. ‘regrets’ seizing 8 Iranians in Iraq.” Montreal Gazette. August 30, 2007.
31 August 2007 Virginia Governor pardons leader of slave revolt

Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine posthumously pardons Gabriel Prosser for leading a failed salve rebellion in 1800.

Associated Press. “Slave who led failed revolt in 1800 ‘pardoned.’” NBC News. August 31, 2007
12 September 2007 1857 Mountain Meadows massacre of 120 unarmed immigrants in Utah-Mormons

 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) issues an apology for the 1857 Mountain Meadows massacre of 120 unarmed immigrants in Utah.

Moore, Carrie A. “LDS Church issues apology over Mountain Meadows.” Desert News. September 12, 2007.
20 September 2007 Germany will pay $2,800 in compensation to 50,000 Jews

Germany says it will pay $2,800 in compensation to 50,000 Jews who were forced to work by the Nazis but who did not qualify for payouts under a previous fund for former slave laborers.

“Pay for ghetto work.” Montreal Gazette. September 20, 2007. pA19.
18 October 2007 U.S. issues apologizes to Canadian Maher Arar

At a congressional hearing, individual members of the U.S. Congress issue apologizes to Canadian Maher Arar for his rendition to Syria and denounce the Bush administration’s refusal to apologize

Alberts, Sheldon. “House members say sorry to Arar.” Montreal Gazette. October 19, 2007.
31 October 2007 Spain passes historical memory law.

Spain passes a “law of historical memory” to help support the documentation and commemoration of mass graves of some one hundred thousand people killed during the rein of Francisco Franco

Hancox, Dan. “The Ghosts Spain Tries to Ignore.” New York Times. December 8, 2016.
3 November 2007 Canada- radiation during atomic testing in the 1950s

Canadian veterans who were exposed to radiation during atomic testing in the 1950s criticize the Canadian federal government’s offer of $24,000 in compensation per victim, pointing to a similar redress in the U.S. that gave payments of $75,000 in the 1980s.

Pugliese, David. “Vets exposed to atomic tests scoff at federal offer.” Montreal Gazette. November 3, 2007.
25 November 2007 Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet asks forgiveness

 Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet asks forgiveness for the pat wrongs of the Catholic Church in the province, including racism, insensitivity to women, and poor treatment of homosexuals, Jews, and natives.

Zucchi, John. “Moving the church into the future.” Montreal Gazette. November 25, 2007.
8 December 2007 Libya-European colonial powers -compensation for colonized people in Africa

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi says that European colonial powers should compensate colonized people in Africa.

“Bitter history may sour summit.” Montreal Gazette. December 8, 2007.
21 December 2007 Israel for 1956 Kafr Qasem massacre.

Israeli President Shimon Peres apologizes for the 1956 massacre in Kafr Qasem, in which 49 Israeli Arabs were killed.

Stern, Yoav. “President Peres Apologizes for Kafr Qasem Massacre of 1956.” Haretz. December 21, 2007.
21 December 2007 Peru abuses committed during Fujimoris time in office

 On trial, former Peruvian President Fujimori apologizes for abuses committed during his time in office.  Victims’ families reject the apology.

http://www.peruviantimes.com/21/families-reject-apology-by-fujimori/75/
22 January 2008 Rebel commander in Liberia’s civil admits to sacrificing children

Milton Blahyi, a former rebel commander in Liberia’s civil war once known as “General Butt Naked,” tells the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that his forces killed 20,000 people, he admits to sacrificing children, and he says he is ashamed of his actions.

Paye-Layleh, Jonathan. “I ate children’s hearts, ex-rebel says.” BBC News. January 22, 2008.
31 January 2008 Australia- mistreatment of Aboriginal people.

New Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd indicates that the country will apologize for past mistreatment of Aboriginal people.  The previous PM, John Howard, had refused to apologize.

“Australia: PM promises apology.” Montreal Gazette. January 31, 2008.
13 February 2008 Australia apologizes to Australia’s indigenous people

The Australian government apologizes to Australia’s indigenous people, the "Stolen Generations."

http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/ref/australia/biogs/FE00083b.htm. I am indebted to Cate O’Neill for this item.
23 March 2008 Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier claimed responsibility for his acts

  From exile in France, former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier claimed responsibility for his acts and asked for forgiveness.

Lacey, Marc. “Haiti’s Poverty Stills Nostalgia for Old Ghosts.” New York Times. March 23, 2008.
15 April 2008 Catholic churchsex abuse scandals of the past decade

Pope Benedict XVI said he was “deeply ashamed” by the sex abuse scandals of the past decade.

Alberts, Sheldon. “‘Ashamed’ pope vows no more pedophile priests.” Montreal Gazette. April 16, 2008.
20 May 2008 USA apologizes to Iraq-American soldier shooting a Koran

 U.S. President George W. Bush apologizes to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki for an American soldier shooting a Koran.

“Bush apology for Koran shooting.” www.bbc.com. May 20, 2008.
24 May 2008 South Africa apologizes for anti-immigrant violence.

South Africa apologizes for anti-immigrant violence.

“S. Africa ‘Sorry For the Inconvenience.’” Montreal Gazette. May 24, 2008.
11 June 2008 Canada Indian residential schools

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologizes for abuses at Indian residential schools.

http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100015644/1100100015649
17 June 2008 Australia/ churches issue an apology to children who were sexually abused while in their care

An Australian state government and several churches issue an apology to children who were sexually abused while in their care.

“Aussie apology for abuse.” Montreal Gazette. June 18, 2008.
18 July 2008 Catholic church apologizes for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia.

Pope Benedict apologizes for sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia.

Pope Apologizes For Church Sexual Abuse In Australia.” New York Times. July 18, 2008.