From July 31 to August 1 2021, the SlaFMig advocacy workshop against descent-based slavery was held in Kayes, Mali. Organised by the Donkosira Association in partnership with the University of Bamako (FSJPB), it brought together various important actors in the fight against descent-based slavery, such as the president of the civil society of Kayes, the representative of the traditional chieftaincy of Khasso, and the prosecutor of the Court of Appeal of Kayes.
The workshop was introduced by a presentation of the SlaFMig project and the Temedt and Donkosira Associations. Afterwards, the participants attended an intervention on the theme “land law, decentralisation and descent-based slavery” by Fousseyni Diabaté (PhD student at the Faculty of Public Law in Bamako). He particularly stressed the importance of land issues within the problems of slavery by descent, as well as Article 2 of the Constitution of February 25, 1992, which states that all Malians are born and remain free and equal in rights and duties.
The debates and discussions between the participants and the speakers were constructive and lively. Mamadou Coulibaly, president of the civil society of Kayes, reaffirmed the reality of slavery in the Kayes region and emphasised the role of civil society in resolving conflicts related to descent-based slavery in the Kayes region. He also asserted that the action of the Malian state has been insufficient in the management of unilateral claims to land ownership by people who consider themselves “noble”. The prosecutor affirmed his commitment to justice, but emphasised that given the impartiality of the judicial institution, the path to change lay with the Kayesians.
During the workshop, Mamadou Sène Cissé (Secretary General of Donkosira) presented a comic book which illustrates the history of the village of Bouillagui, founded by rebel slaves, as well as the documentary film “Les Diambourou” directed by Dr. Marie Rodet. Boukary Diakité, son of the first chief of the canton of Liberté-Banlieue, recounted the history of Liberté-Dembaya and its links to the issue of slavery by descent. Over the course of the days, the workshop was punctuated by several pieces of Tamachek music and ended with a family photo of the participants.