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 626 - 650 of 755
Date of Apology Title Summary Source
26 December 2014 Reconciliation throughout the UK- Scotland and Northern Ireland

Queen Elizabeth II urges reconciliation throughout the UK (re. tensions in Scotland and Northern Ireland).

AP. “Queen urges reconciliation.” Philadelphia Inquirer. Dec 26, 2014.
5 January 2015 Japan apologies for Japan’s wartime misdeeds.

 New nationalist Japanese PM Shinzo Abe issues a reassurance that he will reiterate past apologies for Japan’s wartime misdeeds.

“Abe says to stick to Japan apology in WWII statement.” channelnewsasia.com Jan 5, 2015.
28 January 2015 USA clears 9 African Americans jailed anti-segregation protest 54 years earlier

A court in Rock Hill, SC clears 9 African American men who were jailed for an anti-segregation protest 54 years earlier.

Fausset, Richard. “54 Years later, South Carolina Court Clears ‘Friendship Nine.’” New York Times. Jan 28, 2015.
29 January 2015 UK-Taiwan apologize over watches as gifts

 A UK minister and a Taiwanese mayor both apologize after a diplomatic misunderstanding over a tradition against giving watches as gifts.

Ramzy, Austin. “Apologies All Around After Watch is Presented as Gift in Taiwan.” New York Times. Jan 27, 2015.
23 March 2015 Former Bob Jones University president Bob Jones III apologizes for saying gays should be stoned

 Former Bob Jones University president Bob Jones III apologizes for saying gays should be stoned.

Payne, Ed. “Bob Jones III apologizes for saying gays should be stoned.” www.cnn.com March 23, 2015.
29 April 2015 Japan-American people that were lost during World War II.

 In a speech at the U.S. Congress, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says, “I offer with profound respect my eternal condolences to the souls of all American people that were lost during World War II. Our actions brought suffering to the peoples in Asian countries. We must not avert our eyes from that.”

“Japan’s Apologies for World War II.” New York Times. August 14, 2015
7 May 2015 France regrets repression in Cameroon

In Cameroon, French President Francois Hollande obliquely expresses regret for the “tragic” repression of the nationalist movement in 1956-71.

“Au Cameroun, Francois Holland brise un tabou.” RFI Afrique. March 7, 2015.
23 June 2015 Canada Alberta- inaction on residential schools

 Alberta Premier Rachel Notley apologizes for the province’s inaction during the era of forced residential schools for First Nations children.

Giovannetti, Justin. “Notley apologizes for Alberta’s inaction on residential schools.” Globe and Mail. June 23, 2015.
9 July 2015 Pope Francis apologizes for the Roman Catholic Church’s complicity in the oppression of the colonial era in Latin America

Pope Francis apologizes for the Roman Catholic Church’s complicity in the oppression of the colonial era in Latin America.

Yardley, Jim and William Neuman. “In Bolivia, Pope Francis Apologizes for Church’s ‘Grave Sins.’” New York Times. July 9, 2015.
15 July 2015 USA President Bill Clinton-criminal justice reform measure

 Former U.S. President Bill Clinton expresses regret for signing into law a controversial criminal justice reform measure during his presidency.

Collins, Eliza. “Bill Clinton expresses regret about criminal justice law he signed.” Politico. July 15, 1015.
19 July 2015 Japan’s Mitsubishi corporation -U.S prisoners of war for forced labor in World War II

 Japan’s Mitsubishi corporation apologizes for using U.S> prisoners of war for forced labor in World War II.

“Japan’s Mitsubishi makes prisoners of war apology.” www.bbc.com. July 19, 2015.
12 August 2015 Japan apologies for World War II

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe endorses his predecessors’ various apologies for World War II but does not offer a new apology of his own.

Soble, Jonathan. “Shinzo Abe Echoes Japan’s Past World War II Apologies but Adds No More.” New York Times. August 14, 2015.
24 August 2015 South Korean President Park Geun-hye asks for an apology from North Korea over recent provocations

 South Korean President Park Geun-hye asks for an apology from North Korea over recent provocations.

Mullen, Jethro and Kyung Lah. “South Korea demands apology as talks drag on with North over tensions.” www.cnn.com. August 24, 2015.
28 August 2015 Monaco apologizes for his country’s deportation of Jews during World War II

  Prince Albert II of Monaco apologizes for his country’s deportation of Jews during World War II and asks for forgiveness.

“Monaco: Prince asks Jews for forgiveness.” Montreal Gazette. August 28, 2015.
1 September 2015 Catholic Church-abortion

 At the start of a “Holy Year of Mercy,” Pope Francis says he will give priests the right to forgive the sin of abortion for women who are contrite.

Bacon, John. “Pope to allow priests to forgive abortion.” USA Today. September 1, 2015.
7 October 2015 USA-Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan bombed

President Obama apologizes for the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan.

Shear, Michael and Somini Sengupta. “Obama Issues Rare Apology Over Bombing of Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan.” New York Times. October 7, 2015.
26 October 2015 Britain- intelligence mistakes- invasion of Iraq in 2003.

 Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair apologizes for intelligence mistakes made in the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Mullen, Jethro. “Tony Blair says he’s sorry for Iraq War ‘mistakes,’ but not for ousting Saddam.” www.cnn.com. October 26, 2015.
2 November 2015 USA Delaware pardons Samuel D. Burris, 168 years after he was found guilty of helping slaves escape to freedom

 Delaware Governor Jack Markell posthumously pardons Samuel D. Burris, 168 years after he was found guilty of helping slaves escape to freedom.

Victor, Daniel. “Delaware Pardons an Underground Railroad ‘Hero.’” New York Times. November 2, 2015.
12 November 2015 Serbia gives $7.1 million to Srebrenica,

Serbia gives $7.1 million to Srebrenica, to atone for the slaughter of some 8,000 Muslims there twenty years ago.

“Bosnia: Serbia gives $7.1M to Srebrenica.” Montreal Gazette. November 12, 2015.
29 November 2015 Turkey regret over the downing of a Russian warplane.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip voices regret over the downing of a Russian warplane.

raser, Suzan and Jim Heintz. “As Turkey apologizes, Russia sets sanctions.” Philadelphia Inquirer. November 29, 2015.
8 December 2015 Japan and South Korea agree about 'comfort women.'

Japan and South Korea agree to settle the issue of World War II “comfort women,” as Japan apologizes and pays one billion yen to the victims.

“Japan and South Korea agree WW2 ‘comfort women’ deal.” BBC News. December 28, 2015.
17 December 2015 Brazilian lawyers call for slavery apology.

Brazil’s national bar association calls for the federal government to present an apology for African slavery.

Carrillo, Karen Juanita. “Lawyers call on Brazil to apologize for African slavery.” New York Amsterdam News. December 17, 2015.
1 January 2016 North Korean - reconciliation with South Korea

 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un says he is willing to discuss reconciliation with South Korea.

Sang-Hun, Choe. “Kim Jong-un Talks of Reconciliation in New Year’s Speech.” New York Times. January 1, 2016.
13 January 2016 Iran USA-10 American soldiers who entered Iranian waters

 Iran claims that the U.S. apologized after 10 American soldiers entered Iranian waters and were arrested before being released.  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry denies there was an apology.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/12096275/Iran-holds-two-US-Navy-boats-in-Persian-Gulf.html
16 January 2016 USA clemency seven for men of Iranian in the USA

President Barack Obama grants clemency (but not a pardon) to seven men of Iranian origin either facing criminal charges or serving criminal sentences in the U.S., after which Iran releases five Americans whom it had held.

Gerstein, Josh. “Obama grants clemency to seven in Iran deal.” Politico.com. January 16, 2016.