Center for Inquiry

Joint Statement with British Humanist Association and International Humanist and Ethical Union

UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: 24th Session 9 – 27 September 2013

Speaker: Raheel Raza: CFI Representative, 16 Sept 2013

Slavery in the Islamic World

 Mr President

 Slavery is alive and kicking in the Islamic world.

We heard this morning at a parallel event of the continuing practice of slavery in Mauritania where, despite  legislation in 2007 outlawing the practice, some 15% of the population are still living in slave-like conditions, and babies are still being born as slaves.

 Much of the discussion on traditional slavery has centred on the historic trans-Atlantic slave trade, but that ended over 150 years ago. Yet no-one wants to talk about the persistence of chattel slavery today in North Africa and the Middle east, while any mention of the Arab slave trade is taboo in this forum.

Mr President, far more attention must be paid to slavery and in particular to the plight of women and girls held as slaves in countries like Saudi Arabia and the Sudan.

We welcome the report of the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Ms Gulsan Shahinian  but the Council must not let the use of the word “contemporary” blind it to the plight of the more that 1 million people  being held in traditional forms of slavery today in the Islamic world.

 Is it not time, Mr President that the OIC itself, so strongly represented in this Council, took it upon itself to work far more vigorously to eliminate this stain on the name of Islam?

 Thank you sir