The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights, Freedom, Tolerance and Equality in Africa
Statistical Comparisons

By Vexen Crabtree 2019


#Africa #chad #equality #human_rights #ICC #libya #morals #politics #senegal #tolerance

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2019)1
Pos.Higher is better
1S. Africa64.2
4Cape Verde62.0
8Burkina Faso57.9
Africa Avg47.1
World Avg55.7

Human Rights struggle in much of Africa. The best countries in Africa at protecting human rights, engendering tolerance and supporting equality, are S. Africa, Mauritius and Seychelles but the region as a whole does poorly compared to the global average. The worst countries are Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan. But things are getting better. In the last decade, a series of murderous dictators have been brought to justice2, and the developing courts of Africa have found themselves empowered to seek out human rights abusers at the highest levels. Although many countries are steeped in conflict, a message is being sent that war crimes and abusers cannot operate with immunity. When multiple rulers threatened to cease support for the International Criminal Court, an "an outpouring of popular support... helped to persuade most African governments to continue to stand behind the court3". In sub-Saharan Africa, a decrease in violence and increase in the rule of law and protections of human rights have led to a steady increase in peaceability since 20074.

1. Overall Results

1.1. Human Rights, Equality and Tolerance


Human rights, tolerance, equality and freedom (HRETF) form a key part of the Human Truth Foundation's Social and Moral Development Index. The HRETF factors taken into account for each country are (1) fighting anti-semitic opinions, (2) fighting corruption, (3) opposing gender inequality, (4) its Global Peace Index rating, (5) its commentary from Human Rights Watch, (6) LGBT equality, (7) its nominal commitment to Human Rights, (8) supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, (9) supporting press freedom, (10) eliminating modern slavery and (11) the year from which women could participate in democracy. Many of these data sets are themselves comprised of multiple factors. The HRETF final score is the average of a country's position across those data sets. Across the world, the five countries with the highest scores, who can truly be said to be protecting their people, are Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, The Netherlands and Finland.

1.2. Full Results List

#equality #human_rights #morals #politics #tolerance

Here is the full results list for Africa:

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2019)1
Pos.Higher is better
1S. Africa64.2
4Cape Verde62.0
8Burkina Faso57.9
21Ivory Coast49.5
24Sierra Leone48.8
30Equatorial Guinea47.5
Africa Avg47.1
Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2019)1
Pos.Higher is better
34Congo, (Brazzaville)44.8
37S. Sudan43.0
49Sao Tome & Principe36.0
50Central African Rep.34.3
51Congo, DR34.1
Africa Avg47.1

Compare Africa to other regions of the world: Compare International Statistics by Region and Continent.

2. Gender Equality

#christianity #gender #human_rights #misogyny #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote5
Pos.Lower is better
1S. Africa1930
8Ivory Coast1952
52Central African Rep.1986
Africa Avg1961
World Avg1930

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

Gender Inequality (2015)6
Pos.Lower is better6
5S. Africa0.39
37Congo, DR0.66
38Ivory Coast0.67
Africa Avg0.54
World Avg0.36

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

3. Politics and the Rule of Law

#corruption #democracy #freedom #human_rights #politics

Corruption (2012-2016)7
Pos.Higher is better
Avg Score7
2Cape Verde57.8
8S. Africa43.6
9Sao Tome & Principe42.8
49S. Sudan13.8
Africa Avg32.03
World Avg43.05

Corruption is the abuse of public office for private gain8. There are many forms of corruption. Politicians can sometimes (1) steal money (theft or embezzlement), (2) accept bribes (such as backhanders for awarding government contracts to companies), (3) give bribes (i.e., for electoral support or support in the mass media), (4) improperly coerce others (extortion), (5) give positions of power to friends and family without fairly seeking other applicants for those jobs (cronyism), or (6) grant favours to friends and family (nepotism) such as buying services from them at inflated prices (graft). The least corrupt countries between 2012-2016 were Denmark, New Zealand and Finland and the worst were Somalia, N. Korea and Afghanistan.

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)9
Pos.Higher is better
3Burkina Faso20
5S. Africa20
53Sao Tome & Principe7
Africa Avg14.8
World Avg15.1

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)10
Pos.Lower is better
6S. Africa74
9Burkina Faso88
43Congo, DR151
45Central African Rep.155
Africa Avg114.2
World Avg79.7

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)11

Things are changing for the better:

One of the most encouraging responses to anti-rights autocrats could be found in Africa. [...] Gambia's President Yahya Jammeh lost a free and fair election to Adama Barrow, and when he refused to accept the results, was eased out of office by the threat of West African troops. [...] As recently as a year ago, many African leaders, some with blood on their hands and fearing prosecution, were plotting a mass exodus of their countries from membership in the International Criminal Court. Using populist rhetoric against what they claimed was neo-colonialism, they sought to portray the ICC as anti-African. [...] An outpouring of popular support for the ICC by civic groups across Africa helped to persuade most African governments to continue to stand behind the court. [...]

Responding in large part to the campaigning of women's rights activists, three Middle Eastern and North African states-Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon-repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)3

In 2016 May, Hissene Habre, Chad's ex-dictator, has been convicted in a court in Senegal, found guilty of war crimes against humanity, of rape and of torture. The Economist reports this as a potential game-changer - the first time a African national court has unilaterally tried a foreign dictator, setting a precedence for African human rights law. 'Perhaps 40,000 people died in Chad during Mr Habré's reign of terror between 1982 and 1990. Armed by America (and supported with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid because of his opposition to Muammar Qadaffi's regime in Libya), his political police crushed any tribe they deemed a threat to his rule. [...] This is a landmark for African justice, and a coup for the victims who have pursued it with help from Human Rights Watch, a watchdog.

The Economist (2016)12

Such developments do have a bit of history, albeit a weak one.

A regional human rights regime also operates in Africa, based on the 1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. It is substantively much weaker than its European and American counterparts. Nonetheless, it is of great regional symbolic significance and has provided considerable encouragement and support to national activists. The norms in the African Charter are riddled with clawback clauses that weaken the protections. For example, Article 6 states, No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions previously laid down by law. In other words, so long as a government bothers to pass a law first it can deprive people of their freedom for pretty much any reason it chooses. [...] The institutions for monitoring and enforcement are extremely weak. [...]

Despite all these limitations, the African Commission is a leading regional voice for human rights. Its meetings provide the occasion for valuable networking by NGOs from across the continent. Its activities have helped to socialize African states to the idea that their human rights practices are legitimately subject to regional scrutiny - a not insignificant achievement given the radical notions of sovereignty and nonintervention that dominated the continent in the 1970s and 1980s. And, whatever the current shortcoming, there is an infrastructure in place that African states can build on in the future.

"Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice" by Jack Donnelly (2013)13


4. Global Peace Index

#human_development #peace #politics

Global Peace Index (2012)4
Pos.Lower is better4
7Sierra Leone1.86
44Central African Rep.2.87
45Congo, DR3.07
Africa Avg2.20
World Avg2.02

"The 2012 Global Peace Index is the sixth edition of the world's leading study on global levels of peacefulness. The GPI ranks 158 nations using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, which gauge three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. By generating new information on the state of peace at the national and global level, the Institute for Economics and Peace hopes to make a valuable contribution to better understanding how civil society, researchers, policymakers, and government can create a more peaceful society"4. The most peaceable countries in the world are Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark and the worst are Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan.

Even though Africa has some of the most violent countries, "sub-Saharan Africa's levels of peacefulness have increased steadily since 2007" (GPI 2012).

5. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom (2013)14
Pos.Lower is better14
2Cape Verde1433
6Burkina Faso2370
8S. Africa2456
10Sierra Leone2635
49Equatorial Guinea6720
Africa Avg3511
World Avg3249

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

6. Anti-Semite Opinions

#antisemitism #christianity #germany #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #philippines #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)15
Pos.Lower is better
5Ivory Coast22
9S. Africa38
Africa Avg45.9
World Avg36.8

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews16,17,18,19. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East20, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews21,22. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"23. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males24.


7. Human Rights Watch Comments


Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)25
Pos.Higher is better
2Ivory Coast-1
4S. Africa-2
25Congo, DR-10
Africa Avg-5.6
World Avg-1.9

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

8. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

LGBT Equality (2017)26
Pos.Higher is better
1S. Africa78
3Cape Verde25
4Sao Tome & Principe20
6Central African Rep.20
8Equatorial Guinea15
10Congo, DR15
Africa Avg-10.4
World Avg12.6

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence27. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws28. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries27. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.


9. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery (2018)29
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims29
5S. Africa0.28
10Cape Verde0.41
47S. Sudan2.05
49Central African Rep.2.23
Africa Avg0.96
World Avg0.65

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory30. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends31. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life32. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves33.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery34. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity35. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.36. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi29, Eritrea29, Indonesia37) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery38.


10. The International Criminal Court (ICC) in Africa

The International Criminal Court finds itself most active in Africa.

The ICC, which was created in 2002, is a permanent tribunal that provides individual criminal liability for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. [...] In 2011 the ICC dealt with situations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (involving four cases against five individuals), the Central African Republic (one case against one individual), Uganda (one case against four individuals), the Darfur region of Sudan (four cases against six individuals, including the sitting president of the country), Kenya (one case against three individuals), Libya (one case against two individuals), and Cote D'Ivoire (one case against the former president). This is a reasonable sampling of major cases in recent years and the fact that national leaders have been charged is of considerable significance.

"Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice" by Jack Donnelly (2013)39

It seems to some commentators that the ICC is exclusively concerned with Africa to an extent that is undue and even biased. Arguments have been made that its existence is slowing the progress of the African Union to develop continental procedures of its own. But, ultimately, the ICC only ever manages to engage with very small numbers of cases, and it seems that a local body can, and should, be developed to take on the rest.40

Current edition: 2019 Jan 18
Parent page: Which are the Best Countries in Africa?

All #tags used on this page - click for more:

#Africa #antisemitism #burundi #chad #christianity #corruption #democracy #equality #eritrea #france #freedom #gender #germany #homosexuality #human_development #human_rights #ICC #indonesia #intolerance #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #libya #mass_media #misogyny #morals #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #peace #philippines #politics #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #senegal #sexuality #slavery #spain #sweden #tolerance #turkey #UK #vietnam #women

Social Media

References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover

Book Cover

The Economist. Published by The Economist Group, Ltd. A weekly newspaper in magazine format, famed for its accuracy, wide scope and intelligent content. See for some commentary on this source. A newspaper.

Anti-Defamation League. (ADL)
(2014) ADL Global 100, Executive Summary. Accessed on on 2017 Jan 02. The numbers given are of those who state that racist stereotyped statements about Jews are true; they have to agree to 6 or more of the 11 statements to be counted. An example statements is "Jews are hated because of the way they behave". The data was collected from 53,100 interviews across 101 countries plus the West Bank and Gaza. The global average is 26%.

Bawer, Bruce
(2006) While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within. Published by Broadway Books. A paperback book.

Beetham, David
(2005) Democracy: A Beginner's Guide. Published by Oneworld Publications, Oxford, UK. A paperback book.

Casely-Hayford, Gus
(2012) The Lost Kingdoms of Africa. Published by Bantram Press. A hardback book.

Donnelly, Jack
(2013) Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 3rd edition. Published by Cornell University Press.

The Fraser Institute
(2016) The Human Freedom Index. Published by The Cato Institute, The Fraser Institute and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Covers data up to 2014. On

Harris, Sam
(2006) The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason. 2006 edition. Published in UK by The Great Free Press, 2005. A paperback book.

Heywood, Andrew
(2003) Political Ideologies. 3rd edition. Originally published 1992. Current version published by Palgrave MacMillan. A paperback book.

Hinnells, John R.. Currently professor of theology at Liverpool Hope University.
(1997, Ed.) The Penguin Dictionary of Religions. Originally published 1984. Current version published by Penguin Books, London, UK. References to this book simply state the title of the entry used. A paperback book.

Human Rights Watch
(2018) World Report 2018. Covering the events of 2017.

Klein, Naomi
(2004) No Logo. Originally published 2000, HarperCollins, London, UK. A paperback book.

Kressel, Neil
(2007) Bad Faith: The Danger of Religious Extremism. Amazon Kindle digital edition. Published by Prometheus Books, New York, USA. An e-book.

McCall, Andrew
(1979) The Medieval Underworld. 2004 edition. Published by Sutton Publishing. A paperback book.

Russell, Bertrand. (1872-1970)
(1946) History of Western Philosophy. 2000 edition. Published by Routledge, London, UK. A paperback book.

Thomson, Oliver
(1993) A History of Sin. Published by Canongate Press. A hardback book.

United Nations. (UN)
(2017) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. Data for 2015. Available on

Walk Free Foundation
(2018) Global Slavery Index. Published on


  1. "Human Rights" by Vexen Crabtree (2018)^^
  2. The Economist (2016 Jun 04). Article "One dictator down".^
  3. Human Rights Watch (2018). p8-9,12,235.^^
  4. ^^
  5. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life: 2.9. Women Stand for Election & Vote" by Vexen Crabtree (2019)^
  6. UN (2017). Table 5. Lower is better.^
  7. Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (2017). Accessed 2017 Dec 30. The scores given are the TI average for the years 2012-2016.^
  8. Beetham (2005). Chapter 4 "Success and Setback in the New and Emergent Democraces" p85.^
  9. Max possible=24. Total amount of treaties ratified. Nominal Commitment to Human Rights report published by UCL School of Public Policy, London, UK, at accessed 2011 Apr 30.^
  10. Fraser Institute, the (2016). Covers data for 2014.^
  11. Fraser Institute, the (2016) .^
  12. The Economist (2016 Jun 04) Article "One dictator down".^
  13. Donnelly (2013). p177-178.^
  14. Reporters Without Borders Report "2013 World Press Freedom Index: Dashed hopes after spring" at accessed 2013 Feb.^
  15. ADL (2014). Lower is better.^
  16. Hinnells (1997). Entry "anti-semitism".^
  17. Heywood (2003). p233.^
  18. Russell (1946). p324.^
  19. McCall (1979). p259-260.^
  20. ADL (2014) .^
  21. Kressel (2007). Chapter 2 "Militant Islam: The Present Danger" digital location 868-871.^
  22. Harris (2006). p93.^
  23. Harris (2006). p114-115.^
  24. Bawer (2006) P140-148.. The EUMC report (published 2004) is entitled "Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the European Union".^
  25. Human Rights Watch (2018). Negative and positive comments have been added to create a score for each country covered in the report.^
  26. Sources:^
  27. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p278.^
  28. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p289. According to a 1992 ruling of the Human Rights Committee, which declared that 'it is undisputed that adult consensual sexual activity in private is covered by the concept of privacy' when discussing Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. See Human Rights Committee, Communication 488/1992, paragraph 8.2.^
  29. Walk Free Foundation (2018) .^
  30. Thomson (1993). p28.^
  31. McCall (1979). p180.^
  32. Thomson (1993). p166.^
  33. Casely-Hayford (2012). p253.^
  34. Thomson (1993). p31.^
  35. Thomson (1993). p199.^
  36. Thomson (1993). p28-29.^
  37. Klein (2004) .^
  38. Walk Free Foundation (2018). p2.^
  39. Donnelly (2013). p183-184.^
  40. For a discussion, listen to the University Of Cambridge podcast "The ICC's African Dilemmas" chaired by Dr Adam Branch, available on SoundCloud. Aired March 2017.^

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