Government and rebel forces in South Sudan abducted hundreds of women and girls this year and many have been raped and forced into sexual slavery, the UN mission to the country informed.
Other young people were forced to become child soldiers, according to a report by the UN Mission in South Sudan, which said that many of those abducted remain in the hands of their captors.
The abuses were committed during a civil war by forces loyal to the government of President Salva Kiir and rebels fighting for Riek Machar. The abductions violate international law and may amount to war crimes, the report said.
“The girls are sometimes only 12 years old and were chosen as wives for the military. They had to parade in front of them and they (soldiers) could choose whomever they wanted. They used them and of course they were raped and (subjected to) sexual slavery,” the report said.
Emmanuel Macron announced his support to the project of Slavery Remembrance Foundation, responsible in particular for education and cultural missions, and the commitment of the V Republic to the abolition of slavery throughout the world.
As conceived by his predecessor President Francois Hollande the Foundation will be chaired by former Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who has been carrying on the idea of the project, and will be housed at the Hôtel de la Marine, where the abolition of slavery was decreed on April 27 1848.
“The Foundation will also help to put slavery back into the long history of France, from the first French colonial empire to the present day,” writes the French President Emmanuel Macron in a statement published on the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.
“Because it is impossible to speak of today’s France without mentioning its colonial past, without saying in particular the unique relationship it has with the African continent, this complex and profound relationship which has become an inalienable part of our identities,” the President continued. Emmanuel Macron added that he supports the project of erecting a national memorial to pay tribute to the victims of slavery in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.
The project is a continuation of the initiative of President Francois Hollande who chaired the signature ceremony for the statutes of the “public interest grouping that will prefigure the foundation” at the Elysée Palace on 3 May 2017. Hollande also declared that it headquarters would be at the Hôtel de la Marine, the very place where Victor Schoelcher signed the decree to abolish slavery.
The French Republic recognized slavery and the slave trade as a crime against humanity first time in 1794, when legally the slavery was described as a “crime of lese-humanity”. On 23 May 1998 thousands of descendants of slaves organised a demonstration in Paris to demand this recognition. The movement continued, and it was enshrined by the act of 21 May 2001, named the ‘Taubira law’. The Republic then officially recognized slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity.