Facebook post and report with interviews from the University of Bamako USJPB on the training conducted by SlaFMig (June 2021)

The research action programme “Slavery and Forced Migration in Mali (EMIFO)”. Training workshop for administrative and judicial authorities.

The Faculty of Public Law (FDPu) of the University of Legal and Political Sciences of Bamako hosted from 28 June to 3 July 2021, the launch of a training workshop for administrative and judicial authorities within the framework of the EMIFO programme’s applied research project on slavery and forced migration in Mali. The ceremony was chaired by Mr. Amadou Ouane, technical adviser to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and was attended by officials from the University and their partners.  Dr Yacouba KONE, Vice-Dean of the FDPu, welcomed the participants and thanked the partners of the EMIFO programme.

Prof. Bouréma KANSAYE, Vice-rector of the USJPB, in turn thanked the participants and stressed the importance of the project in the fight against descent-based slavery.  He said that the project was part of a strategic development initiative to build the capacity of justice actors, and that it aimed to promote the economic development and well-being of people displaced by descent-based slavery in the Kayes region, through concrete measures to raise awareness of their situation, which until recently had remained unintelligible and invisible to most development and humanitarian professionals. The results obtained in the framework of this EMIFO programme, such as the deployment of teams in the field to carry out surveys, the training of paralegals, and the dissemination of articles and sketches in the national language in the media, are commendable. Dr Zoumana DIARRA, Secretary General of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), sponsor of this activity, recalled, on behalf of the President, the principles of protection and promotion of human rights as well as the prevention of torture and other cruel and inhuman punishment. 

For this reason, the CNDH is and remains at the forefront of the protection of human rights and its importance is more relevant than ever in the fight against slavery and similar practices.

Marie RODET, Director of the EMIFO programme, and historian and researcher, stressed that descent-based slavery is a history that is often ignored and that has a serious impact in many countries such as Mali. It is the assignment of “slave status” to a class of people on the pretext that one of their ancestors was enslaved in the past by local elite families. Victims face discrimination and abuse and may be forced to work without pay. There is no legislation on descent-based slavery. It is therefore difficult to know the exact number of people affected by this phenomenon.

The EMIFO programme’s research aims to propose concrete measures to remedy this situation and to manage and prevent the prolonged displacement of victims trying to escape slavery. The opening address was given by Mr Amadou Ouane representing the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. He deplored the lack of a specific law criminalising descent-based slavery in Mali. Because of this lack of a protective legal framework, victims of descent-based slavery often have no choice but to flee to more “hospitable” regions. He remains convinced that the assistance of the resource persons solicited in this capacity-building exercise will make it possible to better meet expectations. The session was suspended for a family photo and a coffee break. At the beginning of the session, Prof. Bakary CAMARA, one of the project researchers, made a brief presentation of the objectives and expectations of the trainers and listeners.

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