For the victim peoples and countries, slavery, colonization, apartheid and the cultural looting of the third world were frameworks for gross and systematic violations of human rights and for a total disregard of their right to development. These violations have never been redressed and deprive the victims of any possibility of developing themselves and leading a decent life.
The practices listed above belong to the past but have baneful consequences for the economic life of the peoples and countries that were the victims. Today, these peoples are living in a state of absolute poverty, as frequently noted by the international community. The serious crimes of massive violations of human rights produced by these practices are ongoing ones. The principle in such cases is that, so long as the nefarious action has not ceased, there can be no prescription, the more so as these are crimes against humanity which are thus imprescriptible and subject to the principle of universal jurisdiction. This principle makes it possible for the courts in all countries to take cognizance of an act constituting a crime against humanity.
The Third World is pressing for the restitution or return of its cultural heritage, but although general public in the West is now aware for the first time of the massive scale of cultural loss suffered by the Third World, the initial response to Third World demands for restitution has not been good. Fearing a massive onslaught on their possessions, the guardians of Europe's and the USA' treasure houses are preparing to prevent the removal of their treasures.