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Slavery in our countries

If we say that development and civilization are measured by the susceptibility of any people to co-live with other peoples and its ability to put its religious and political differences aside, we would find that Muslim societies, in general, are the least developed and civilized, because of their reluctance or maybe inability to live with others and be forgiving with them.

If we look at the most important document in modern history, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was signed by other countries of the world without reservation, we would find that Muslim countries were nearly the only ones that had reservations on some of its items, and those who did not have reservations, one day, did not comply with its items.

The new government in Mauritania undertook in its ministerial program to eradicate all forms of slavery, as the issue began to become an embarrassment for the country. And for that purpose, a workshop was held in the capital Nouakchott to prepare a road map to eradicate all forms of deep slavery. But during its first day, a sharp verbal exchange took place between the housing minister, former justice minister, president of “slaves rescue organization” and defenders of human rights, as they accused the government of flippancy in dealing with this complicated issue which is deeply instilled in Mauritanian traditions, both religious and tribal. Although Mauritania was the last country to sign the anti-slavery treaty in 1981, it failed to get rid of this shame.

Even the law that banned slavery did not include punishments for its violators. International pressure made the government in 2007 to take violators to court, but there is still, according to observers, more than 600,000 slaves or 20 percent of the population. Yet, many people do not agree with this percentages as a report by the United Nations Human Rights Council mentioned that despite sanctions, Mauritania still suffers a lot from the slavery problem, and this is a reality that cannot be denied, and what makes eradicating it difficult, despite government efforts, is the slaves’ lack of knowledge of their rights; preference to stay with their masters because of their poverty; spread of illiteracy among them; necessity for their physical presence to testify that they are slaves (because the law does not allow other than them to complain about their situation); in addition that it is difficult to reach them in their places, among other reasons.

Some Gulf countries had slavery until recently and did not abandon it until nearly half a century, and it was said that this was under Western pressure, the British, in particular, without which and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we would still be buying and selling slaves.

Yet, it seems that slavery will return with the blessings of Daesh as all its ‘actions’ receive support from many of religious leaderships here, in addition to some respected sharia scholars, and the reasons are known!

— Translated by Kuwait Times

By Ahmad Al-Sarraf

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This article was published on 20/06/2015