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UN Envoy Urges Mauritania To Enforce Anti-Slavery Law

May 14, 2022

Slavery in Mauritania - BORGEN

 

By: Zahid Jadwat

 

A United Nations (UN) human rights expert has urged the authorities in Mauritania to take immediate steps to enforce anti-slavery laws.

Following a visit to the West African country, UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery Tomoya Obokata said some progress had been achieved in the fight against slavery but much more needed to be done.

He observed that people were still being born into slavery and those who were affected required support in seeking justice and achieving equality.

People are now more eager to debate the subject openly, according to Obokata. However, he said that caste-based slavery and chattel slavery (in which one person owns another) continued to exist.

 

He stressed that a shift in the public’s thinking was needed and warned that the country’s leaders needed to change their mindsets because laws had been approved but were not being implemented.

 

Enslaved individuals in Mauritania, particularly women and children, were subjected to brutality and sexual abuse, according to Obokata.

 

Slavery has been formally prohibited in Mauritania since 1981, and slaveholders face a five- to ten-year prison sentence under a September 2007 law. Complicity in slavery and its encouragement are both punishable under the same legislation.

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