Contemporary forms of slavery exist in Madagascar: UN expert

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Gulnara Shahinian

The Government of Madagascar has been called on to fight poverty, domestic servitude and bonded labour by the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery.

Ms. Gulnara Shahinian, who made her first fact-finding mission to the country in December, warned that "human rights cannot thrive in an environment of extreme poverty."

The Special Rapporteur said she had met with women, boys and girls who had been victims of physical, verbal and sexual violence as a result of working respectively as migrant domestic workers abroad and child domestic workers in Madagascar.

She learned that parents must send their children to work to either pay off a debt or earn money to feed the family.

According to the Special Rapporteur, Madagascar has sufficient legislation to combat slavery, but the laws are not implemented or monitored.

She stressed the need for the authorities to ensure that existing national legislation is applied with a particular focus on fighting impunity and holding those responsible accountable.

Gerry Adams, United Nations.

Duration: 1’07″

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