A key stage of the “Slavery and Forced Migration” project, namely the training workshop for 28 paralegals from the regions of Kayes, Nioro and Kita, was successfully concluded in the last week of November 2020 in Bamako. The Laboratoire d’études et de recherches en droit, décentralisation et développement local (LERDDL) of the Faculty of Public Law (FDPU) of Bamako in partnership with the SOAS University of London organised this training which aimed at preparing the 28 selected paralegals to carry out awareness raising activities against slavery, for citizenship and human rights.
In summary, this 10-day workshop offered a comprehensive training covering the history of slavery and its contemporary avatars, as well as common misconceptions about historical and contemporary slavery and the historical and legal definition of slavery by descent as it is experienced in West Africa. After this context-setting, the programme delved deeper into international and national legal instruments on the protection of human rights, as well as recent jurisprudence such as rulings of regional courts. These sessions also focused on women’s rights and gender-based violence in the context of descent-based slavery; the role of paralegals in situations of forced migration of victims of descent-based slavery; legal remedies available to victims of contemporary slavery in Mali, the sub-region and the African continent; and land ownership rights. At the end of the programme a certificate was awarded to the paralegals, who are now equipped and ready to engage in their awareness and prevention missions.