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Mali-Thousands Still Live in Slavery IRIN Report

Mali-Thousands Still Live in Slavery IRIN Report

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Published by: bgeller4936 on Jan 17, 2010
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12/12/2012

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10-01-15 11:54 PMIRIN - Print ReportPage 1 of 3http://www.irinnews.org/PrintReport.aspx?ReportId=79242
Photo:Celeste Hicks/IRIN Iddar Ag Ogazide escaped his masters after 35 years of slavery and now works on a building site in Gao.
humanitarian news and analysis
a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
MALI: Thousands still live in slavery in north
GAO
, 14
 July
2008 (
IRIN
) -
People
 
continue
 
to
 
beenslaved
 
in
 
northern
 
Mali
,
according
 
to
 
Malian
 
humanrights
 
organisation
 
Temedt
,
despite
 
a
 
widespreadbelief 
 
that
 
slavery
 
no
 
longer
 
exists
 
in
 
the
 
country
.
Read more in the Hear our Voices on Iddar Ag Ogazide.
 
The
 
government
 
believes
 
slavery
 
ended
 
withindependence
,
when
 
many
 
of 
 
the
 
people
 
who
 
hadbeen
 
living
 
as
 
slaves
 
in
 
the
 
colonial
 
period
 
werefreed
,”
said
 
Temedt
 
President
 
Mohammed
 
AgAkeratane
, “
but
 
I
 
would
 
estimate
 
there
 
are
 
still
 
severalthousand
 
people
 
living
 
in
 
slavery
 
or
 
slavery
-
likeconditions
 
in
 
modern
 
Mali
.”
According
 
to
 
Temedt
,
which
 
means
solidarity
in
 
the
 
Touareg
 
language
 
Tamasheq
,
slavery
 
continues
 
in
 
the
 
north
 
in
 
the
 
region
 
of 
 
Gao
1,200
km
 
north
 
of 
 
the
 
capital
,
Bamako
,
and
 
around
 
the
 
town
 
of 
 
Menaka
1,500
km
 
north
 
of 
 
Bamako
.
Most
 
of 
 
the
 
slavery
 
takes
 
place
 
between
 
the
 
Berber
-
descended
 
Touaregs
 
and
 
theindigenous
 
Bella
 
people
 
who
 
live
 
in
 
this
 
region
,
although
 
the
 
Peul
 
and
 
Songhaicommunities
 
have
 
 
known
 
to
 
use
 
slaves
 
in
 
the
 
past
,
according
 
to
 
Temedt
.
Iddar
 
Ag
 
Ogazide
,
a
 
Bella
,
said
 
he
 
lived
 
as
 
a
 
slavein
 
Ansongo
, 80
km
 
south
 
of 
 
Gao
,
where
 
he
 
workedfor
 
the
 
Touareg
 
Ag
 
Baye
 
family
 
for
35
yearswithout
 
receiving
 
a
 
salary
 
or
 
an
.
TheAg
 
Bayes
 
bought
 
his
 
great
-
grandmother
 
andinherited
 
his
 
family
 
members
 
from
 
onegeneration
 
to
 
the
 
next
.
In
 
March
2008
Iddar
 
finallycould
 
not
 
take
 
any
 
more
 
and
 
hatched
 
asuccessful
 
escape
 
plan
-
he
 
is
 
currently
 
living
 
inGao
.
His
Takwalet
,
who
 
escaped
 
with
 
him
,
toldIRIN
: “
Life
 
was
 
hard
 
there
.
Everything
 
I
 
did
 
wasagainst
 
my
 
will
.
I
 
did
 
all
 
the
 
cooking
,
pounding
[
of 
 
millet
],
getting
 
water
,
fetching
 
the
 
wood
 
andsweeping
 
the
 
house
.
I
 
never
 
received
 
money
;
Ididn
t
 
even
 
get
 
any
 
clothes
.”
 
10-01-15 11:54 PMIRIN - Print ReportPage 2 of 3http://www.irinnews.org/PrintReport.aspx?ReportId=79242
Photo:Celeste Hicks/IRIN Shelter just outside the town of Gao in northern Mali.
Murky
 
definitions
 
But
 
discussions
 
on
 
slavery
 
are
 
complex
 
in
 
Mali
,
with
 
many
 
people
 
arguing
 
it
 
does
 
notexist
.
Some
 
Gao
 
residents
 
said
 
individuals
 
might
 
stay
 
with
 
their
masters
more
 
out
 
of economic
 
necessity
 
than
 
anything
.
Today
 
the
 
Bella
 
have
 
become
 
largely
 
assimilated
 
into
 
Touareg
 
culture
,
keeping
 
similarcultural
 
traditions
 
and
 
speaking
 
the
 
same
 
language
(
Tamasheq
),
and
 
many
 
of 
 
the
 
Bellaare
 
known
 
as
 
Black
 
Tamasheq
.
The
 
Touareg
 
masters
 
and
 
the
 
Bella
 
people
 
have
 
lived
 
in
 
acomplex
 
caste
 
system
 
for
 
many
 
decades
 
and
 
some
 
say
 
little
 
has
 
changed
 
in
 
this
 
powerrelationship
-
much
 
of 
 
the
 
northern
 
region
s
 
property
 
and
 
livestock
 
remains
 
in
 
theTouareg
 
hands
.
The
 
towns
 
of 
 
Menaka
 
and
 
Ansongo
 
are
 
harsh
 
and
 
isolated
,
with
 
few
 
 jobs
 
and
 
economicopportunities
. “
Conditions
 
are
 
tough
 
in
 
the
 
north
,
but
 
the
 
Bella
 
people
 
are
 
free
 
to
 
leavetheir
 
masters
 
if 
 
they
 
wish
,”
said
 
an
 
unnamed
 
source
 
in
 
the
 
Malian
 
government
sTerritorial
 
Administration
 
department
. “
There
 
is
 
not
 
an
 
obligation
,
or
 
formalised
 
slavery
,"
he
 
said
.
The
 
implication
 
is
 
that
 
some
 
Bella
 
people
 
may
 
feel
 
unable
 
to
 
strike
 
out
 
on
 
their
 
own
 
andleave
 
the
 
protection
 
of 
 
their
 
rich
 
master
,
who
 
feeds
 
them
 
but
 
does
 
not
 
pay
 
them
. “
If people
 
came
 
out
 
to
 
declare
 
openly
 
that
 
they
 
were
 
slaves
,
then
 
of 
 
course
 
the
 
state
 
woulddo
 
something
,”
said
 
the
 
source
.
But
 
for
 
Anti
-
Slavery
 
International
 
the
 
situation
 
is
 
more
 
clear
-
cut
."
Like
 
his
 
parents
 
before
 
him
,
Iddar
 
was
 
born
 
a
 
slave
,
a
 
status
 
ascribed
 
to
 
him
 
at
 
birth
,
and
[
he
]
grew
 
up
 
under
 
the
 
total
 
control
 
of 
 
a
 
master
 
who
 
exacted
 
labour
 
from
 
him
 
for
 
noremuneration
",
said
 
Romana
 
Cacchioli
,
Africa
 
programme
 
coordinator
 
with
 
Anti
-
SlaveryInternational
. "
In
 
my
 
view
 
Iddar
'
s
 
case
 
is
 
a
 
clear
 
case
 
of 
 
slavery
."
Murky
 
legal
 
framework
 
It
 
is
 
not
 
clear
 
what
 
the
 
state
 
could
 
do
 
in
 
cases
 
such
 
asIddar
s
,
as
 
Mali
 
has
 
no
 
law
 
formally
 
forbidding
 
slavery
.
Although
 
Mali
'
s
 
constitution
 
states
 
all
 
people
 
areequal
,
and
 
the
 
country
 
has
 
signed
 
up
 
to
 
the
 
majorinternational
 
conventions
 
banning
 
slavery
,
includingthe
 
UN
 
supplementary
 
convention
 
on
 
abolishingslavery
(1956),
officially
 
the
 
practice
 
was
 
nevercriminalised
 
in
 
Mali
,
which
 
makes
 
it
 
difficult
 
to
 
seeklegal
 
redress
 
in
 
cases
 
such
 
as
 
Iddar
 
Ag
 
Ogazide
'
s
.
Nevertheless
,
Temedt
 
has
 
instructed
 
a
 
lawyer
 
to
 
workwith
 
Iddar
 
and
 
another
 
escaped
 
female
 
slave
 
in
 
Gao
.
We
 
would
 
like
 
to
 
see
 
if 
 
they
 
can
 
take
 
a
 
case
 
to
 
courtfor
 
compensation
,”
said
 
Temedt
s
 
Akeratane
.
At
 
the
 
time
 
of 
 
writing
 
Temedt
 
was
 
also

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