PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has presented a campaigner against slavery in the west African country of Mauritania with a prestigious human rights award.
The 2013 Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk to Biram Dah Abeid.
He is the President of the anti-slavery non-governmental organisation, Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania (IRA).
President Higgins said Biram Dah Abeid has worked tirelessly and at great personal cost to ensure the voices of those enslaved are heard and liberation becomes a reality. “In his own words: “we refuse to ask for provisional freedom and we do not ask for mercy”,” he said.
“In order to protect the rights of one, there must always be consideration of the rights of others, so that those who would seek to treat another human being as property have no moral authority and that a young woman, kidnapped, sold five times and kept behind barred windows in a cramped brothel might imagine a different life.
“And a man, born in poverty and bonded for life to his employer, does not have to see his children suffer the same fate,” he added.