Haratin: BBC Radio 4 To Appeal For Slaves In Mauritania
On April 21st, actress and writer Meera Syal presented the BBC Radio 4 Appeal and focused on the issue of slavery facing the Haratin in Mauritania.
Below is an article published Minority Rights Group International .
Even in 2013 there are still places in the world where people are born and die as slaves. Where belonging to a specific caste or class, condemns you to an existence that is almost impossible to imagine.
On 21 April, writer and actress Meera Syal presented MRG’s BBC Radio 4 appeal to help people born into the Haratin slave caste in Mauritania, North Africa. People like Moulkheir, a Haratin woman who had to work under horrifying conditions, and was subjected to abuse by her slave master.
Here is a transcript of the appeal:
You do not own your body.
Your master owns it. It’s his to buy and sell. For work. For sex.
You’re given gruelling work for which you are paid nothing. You’re forbidden from getting an education, from marrying the partner of your choice, you are beaten. And, possibly worst of all, you know that unless someone does something, your children and your grandchildren will experience the same human indignity.
You are a slave. Living what the UN calls a social death.
If you thought like me that being born into slavery was a thing of the past – that it belonged to the age of colonies and plantations - think again. I found out from the charity Minority Rights Group that even in 2013 there are still places in the world where people are born and die as slaves. Where belonging to a specific caste or class, condemns you to an existence that is almost impossible to imagine.
That’s how I heard about Moulkheir.
Moulkheir was born into the Haratin – a slave caste – in Mauritania, in North Africa. A country that exists well off the international radar, Mauritania has the most deeply entrenched system of slavery in the world. Officially, Mauritania says this ancient and inhumane practice no longer exists. The experience of Minority Rights Group says the opposite.
In the scorching heat of the Saharan sun, Moulkheir’s wealthy master forced her to work under horrifying conditions. Moulkheir knew that if she did not obey, she would be beaten, abused and deprived of food. She knew that if she fled she would risk starvation in the unforgiving desert.
Moulkheir was raped by her master’s son. She was forced to abandon her baby.
Minority Rights Group works with Haratin like Moulkheir to end this inhumane system. They empower individuals to claim their rights and their freedom and they challenge Mauritanian denials. Minority Rights Group gets results; they recently supported the first successful prosecution of a slave owner under a new law and they support Haratin women leaders to challenge slavery wherever it is found.
You can help Minority Rights Group help the world’s most oppressed people – including Moulkheir and her children – to live in freedom, dignity and peace. We can work together to eliminate injustice around the world. Please reach out today and make a donation either on-line via the Radio 4 Website or by calling 0800 404 8144 or you can write a cheque to Minority Rights Group International and send it to Freepost BBC Radio 4 Appeal – please mark the back of the envelope Minority Rights Group International.
Thank you so much.
To listen the appeal, click here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s030f