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The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law$
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Jenny S. Martinez

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195391626.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 May 2021

Am I Not a Man and a Brother?

Am I Not a Man and a Brother?

(p.99) Chapter 5 Am I Not a Man and a Brother?
The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law

Jenny S. Martinez

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the impact of the mixed commissions in granting freedom to slaves. It explores the help provided by slave trade tribunals to their intended beneficiaries. Like many legal regimes, the international regime for the suppression of the slave trade had many consequences. The regime achieved their goal to help victims of the slave trade preserve the freedom of the millions of Africans. But along the way, many Africans were harmed. Some were crowded onto ships in worse conditions than they might normally have endured, as slavers tried to optimize the value of each voyage while evading capture. Some died of disease as courts took too long to decide cases. The slaves themselves rarely appeared in legal proceedings as claimants of rights. Instead, they were silent bystanders and only occasionally gave testimony. In sum, the mixed commissions delivered imperfect justice at its best.

Keywords:   slave emancipation, slave trade tribunals, African slaves, mixed commissions, international regime

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