The International Campaign Against Slavery (iCAS) was launched on 29 January 2014 in Nouakchott, Mauritania, by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). On this occasion, a high-level conference was convened on the topic of contemporary slavery, bringing together politicians, civil society activists, partner organizations, academics and press.

UNPO’s aim, in coordination with citizens worldwide, is to demand the United Nations General Assembly for a strong and committed step towards ending the practice of slavery (and all its contemporary forms, such as forced labour and human trafficking), going further than the existing conventions, which have not been enforced.

Slavery is often erroneously believed to be a practice of the past, while, in fact, there are still an estimated number of 29.8 million enslaved people around the world. Therefore, the iCAS campaign also seeks to increase awareness about the topic of contemporary slavery: its roots, causes, forms, victims, consequences, and the ways forward to abolish it.

UNPO draws its strength in large part from its experience working with its Haratin member in Mauritania – the country with the highest proportion of slaves in the world – and with IRA (Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist movement), whose leader, Biram Dah Abeid, was awarded both the United Nations Human Rights Prize and the Front Line Defenders Award for human rights defenders at risk in 2013, in recognition of his efforts to end slavery in Mauritania.

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