UN human rights experts on Friday called on Mali to end traditional slavery, following a spate of violence against people born into slavery.
Slavery was officially abolished in colonial Mali in 1905, but there is still a system in which people are forced to work without pay for families who enslaved their ancestors, the expert group said. ‘UN in a press release.
Malian law does not specifically criminalize this form of slavery, so the perpetrators often escape the law, he said.
In September, a group of people believed to be slaves were attacked by other residents who opposed their celebrating Independence Day, according to UN experts.
The attacks lasted two days, killing one person and injuring at least 12. It is the eighth attack this year in the Kayes region, located about 500 km from the capital Bamako, he said. “The fact that these attacks are so frequent in this area shows that socially hereditary slavery is still practiced by a certain number of politicians, customary chiefs, police forces and influential authorities in Mali”, he continued.
“Before repeatedly condemning this heinous practice, now the Malian government must act, starting by ending impunity for attacks on ‘slaves’.”
At least 30 people from both sides have been arrested and police have launched an investigation, according to a UN statement.
Hereditary slavery also occurs in neighboring Mali, namely Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania which became the last country in the world to abolish slavery in 1981.
In Mali, prosecutors blame most cases of hereditary slavery of minors, according to a recent US State Department human trafficking report.
The report recommends that the 2012 anti-trafficking law be revised to include hereditary slavery. (Ant / OL-12)