Mali conflict puts freedom of 'slave descendants' in peril
The plight of slave descendants is even more insecure following a rebellion by Tuareg separatists backed by al-Qaida-linked extremists. In March, the uprising triggered a military coup by troops frustrated at the ineffectual government response. Now, military intervention from Ecowas, the west African regional group, looms.
"The slave population is already defenceless; it will become even more so as the conflict intensifies. We are like the straw that will be trampled underfoot when elephants fight," said Ibrahim Ag Idbaltanat, an activist who received the international anti-slavery award in London last Wednesday.
Slavery was formally abolished in Mali in the 1960s, after the country gained independence from France. However, although slavery is not allowed under the constitution, there is no anti-slavery law and descent-based slavery through the maternal bloodline still exists in northern regions.
People descended from slaves remain the "property" of their "masters", either living with them and serving them directly, or living separately but remaining under their control.
...Slavery is still practised in the far north between Berber-descended Tuareg nomads and darker-skinned Bella or black Tamasheq people.
[link to guardian.urlshrtener
] More Yellow Journalism - War planning 101 - there's always a group of innocent victims to save...Here it's black people, women, and those poor child soldiers...
How many of them did we save in Libya?