Because we are all the same!
Africans Rising stands in unwavering support of the movements and the many activists and organizations fighting against the present-day practice of slavery in West Africa which keeps hundreds of thousands of people in bondage. It is a horrendous shame that in 2019 someone can be born into this inhumane caste system of subjugation and exploitation, however, we remain optimistic about the work being done to combat this injustice.
On Nov. 14, a historic demonstration outside the Saudi Embassy in France, brought together activists and NGOs to demand action against Mahamadou Touré, a Malian imam who uses teachings from the Koran to justify slavery. We hope that this action, and others like it, inspire more all African citizens, in refuting and combating slavery in all forms. We also uplift the stories of courageous Malian people who have refused enslavement and survived the violent backlash, sometimes being forced out of their villages and towns, leaving everything behind to live as refugees in their own country.
This year, on Africa Liberation Day (May 25), Africans Rising took part in an action against slavery in partnership with TEMEDT, an organization working to end slavery in Mali. Movement coordinator Coumba Toure went on a solidarity visit to Mambiri and heard direct accounts from the tortured victims, particularly the shameful accounts from women of their unspeakable and undignified treatment.
In Mambiri, there are over 600 displaced people fighting for justice and trying to rebuild their lives from scratch. Upon the arrival of refugees to the village, the amazing village chief announced, “If you seek refuge because you killed someone or did something that goes against the laws of this country, I would not welcome you. If the only reason they chased you is because you are refusing the conditions of slavery, you are welcome. We will all fit here. We will share with you the little we have we will establish kinship our children can marry each other.“
It is in this spirit of sharing and kinship, that the Africans Rising movement urges all the people of West Africa to act against the practice of slavery taking place in plain sight. We call upon Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta and the country’s Ministry of Justice of Mali, as well as ECOWAS leadership, AU leadership, and the UN, to support and accelerate the court cases of people being denied the right to grow their own food or have access to their property because of refusing the status of a slave, and to pass anti-slavery laws that would criminalize the practice and prevent anyone else from falling victim to such a violent system. In support of the work of all the Anti-Slavery association of West Africa, we call upon the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as an authority in the Islamic religion, to denounce Touré and his preachings.
We also call on our Africans Rising movement members and allies to take part in the work to end slavery in West Africa and to respond specifically to the case of Mali. Help let the world know that there are people today in Mali who act violently to maintain their neighbors in slavery by taking one or some of the following actions: sharing our statement of solidarity among your friends and communities, expressing your support of anti-slavery activism in Mali on your social media feeds using the hashtags #Gambana and #Gambanaxu, contributing financially to the litigation and reinstallation of the displaced Malian and/or supporting movements like Gambana and Temedt.