African War Veterans Win Lengthy Battle Against France For Full Pension Rights
Some of the last survivors of a colonial-era infantry corps in France that recruited tens of thousands of African soldiers to fight in French wars around the world will be able to spend their final days with family members in post-government Africa – Realization of your pension rights.
The decision to make social security rights more flexible was confirmed on Wednesday (January 4).
A year-long campaign ensues in favor of “Tirailleurs Senégalais”, recruited from Senegal and other formerly French-ruled nations in sub-Saharan Africa to fight.
The government’s Ministry of Solidarity said the pension decision would only affect 22 former soldiers, who will receive a monthly payment of 950 euros ($1,000).
The ministry added that they would no longer need to spend six months a year in France to be eligible and would receive their pension payments even if they moved permanently.
The decision, which implements the “principle of tolerance” for veterans, will be formalized in a government letter to be released in the coming days.
Tens of thousands of African conscripts served in the Tirailleur regiments, the Colonial Wars, both World Wars and the Vietnam and Algerian Wars before being disbanded in the early 1960s.
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“After many years of struggle, we finally won,” tweeted Aissata Sik, who defended her. “Past candidates will be able to see their lives in their home countries.”
Veterans of an infantry corps established in 1857 and disbanded a century later, to be eligible for their French pensions, had to spend at least six months a year in France.
This rule has separated elderly ex-combatants from their families in Africa, and some have died alone, far from their loved ones, says Aissata Sik, who advocates for them. Her grandfather was also a “Teraylor”.
“It was very traumatic for the families and for us,” Sick said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday (January 4). “They often live in France in completely different conditions, far from their families.”
A total of 37 former Highlanders — most of whom were called up from Senegal, as well as Mali, Mauritania and Guinea — live in France, Seck says.
The youngest is 90 years old. Dozens live in separate rooms in a house in the Parisian suburb of Bondy, where Sek works as an elected official. She said they served as juniors during the Vietnam and Algerian wars of independence.