Christian Solidarity International (CSI) on Thursday, 6 September, reported that one of its research teams, recently returned from the Afro-Arab borderlands of Sudan, had found systematic of human rights abuses, as a manifestation of racism, among a group of “97 female slaves above the age of 12 who were recently liberated from bondage.” The NGO’s preliminary analysis of the interviews indicated a disturbingly high number of reported incidences of forced labour, beatings, racial insults, rape and gang rape, CSI stated. Despite the documented release of 2,014 black slaves through Sudan’s CSI-sponsored ‘Underground Railroad’ since mid-July, “a minimum of 200,000 black women and children currently remain enslaved in northern Sudan - according to the black African civil authorities in the six counties of northern Bahr al-Ghazal, the region most severely affected by the slave raiding,” it reported. Sexual violence against women in the context of armed combat were both defined in international law as crimes against humanity, yet it was “an integral element of Sudanese slavery” and a manifestation of racism, CSI added.
As highlighted in a 30 August report by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), an autonomous agency which carries out research on the social dimensions of contemporary problems affecting development, contemporary slavery in Sudan - and elsewhere in northern Africa - was “deeply rooted in Arab and Muslim supremacism” which continued to blight black Africa, CSI stated. [The UNRISD research paper was prepared for the organisation’s “Racism and Public Policy Conference” from 3 to 5 September, on the sidelines of the World Racism Conference in Durban, South Africa.] CSI on Thursday appealed to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson to push at the Durban conference for condemnation of “the current enslavement of black Africans in the Afro-Arab borderlands of North Africa.” CSI also called on Robinson to again put on the table a proposal she made last year for the disarmament of the Sudanese government [aligned] militias that raid for slaves.
CSI is a Christian human rights organisation for religious liberty whose stated primary objective is worldwide respect for the right of every human being to choose his or her faith and to practice it, as stipulated in Article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [for more details, go to: http://www.csi-int.ch/]
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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