France violated human rights through its colonial occupations, especially in the African continent. France, with its colonial occupations launched in 1524, dominated more than 20 countries in the western and northern Africa. Thirty-five percent of the continent remained under French occupations for 300 years. Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Benin were used as a hub for the slave trade during that time and all resources in the region were exploited by France. Revolts in the countries struggling for independence were violently suppressed during France's five-century colonial period. More than 2 million Africans lost their lives. Thousands were killed by French soldiers during demonstrations launched by Algerians who fought in French fronts with the promise of independence shortly before the end of World War II. During the course of the struggle for independence, 1 million people were killed and hundreds of thousands were injured, went missing or were forced from their homes. Violence on Algerians continued systematically with the Setif and Guelma massacres in 1945 to July 5, 1962, when the country declared its independence from the colonial rule.