Having lived in Mali (West Africa) for a few years, any news stories from that region have my automatic attention. And today I felt very proud of a courageaous 24-year-old woman, Hadijatoy Mani, from Niger. She took her own government to court for failing to protect her (and her 2 children ) from slavery.
The Court of Justice of the regional body Ecowas ordered the government – which says it has done all it can to eradicate slavery – to pay Ms Mani 10m CFA francs (£12,430; $19,750). Despite being outlawed, slavery also persists in other West African states.
Hadijatou was sold at the age of 12 and forced to work as a slave for 10 years. She accused the government of Niger of failing to protect her from slavery, which was criminalised five years ago.
The Ecowas court ruling will be binding on all 15 member states and will have consequences for people being kept as slaves.
For the full story, check the BBC website and its Special Report section. The International Labour Organization estimates that approximately 12.3 million people worldwide are forced labourers. That is equal to 2 people in every 1,000 human beings!!!
So, I did a search for ‘slavery’ on Ocean and the following gems caught my eye:
The Bahá’í Faith is the first religion to explicitly ban slavery in its Sacred Scripture. Bahá’u’lláh prohibited this practice in clear and unambiguous language. In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (paragraph 72), it is stated:
“It is forbidden you to trade in slaves, be they men or women. It is not for him who is himself a servant to buy another of God’s servants, and this hath been prohibited in His Holy Tablet. Thus, by His mercy, hath the commandment been recorded by the Pen of justice. Let no man exalt himself above another; all are but bondslaves before the Lord, and all exemplify the truth that there is none other God but Him. He, verily, is the All-Wise, Whose wisdom encompasseth all things.”
In 2000 (Ridvan message 157) the Universal House of Justice said:
“It grieves our hearts to realize that in so many parts of the world children are employed as soldiers, exploited as labourers, sold into virtual slavery, forced into prostitution, made the objects of pornography, abandoned by parents centred on their own desires, and subjected to other forms of victimization too numerous to mention. Many such horrors are inflicted by the parents themselves upon their own children. The spiritual and psychological damage defies estimation. Our worldwide community cannot escape the consequences of these conditions. This realization should spur us all to urgent and sustained effort in the interests of children and the future.”
And from Bahá’u’lláh’s Hidden Words:
“O Children of Men! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you. O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.”
Enough food for thought & contemplation for tonight, I think.