August 24, 2012

Haratin: Persisting Slavery Met with Condemnation

NGOs in Mauritania continue to speak out and re-affirm their solidarity to victims of the continuing slavery, perpetuated by impunity and denial.

Below is an article published by Africa News:

Two non-governmental organisations in Mauritania on Thursday [23 August 2012] denounced the persistence of slavery in the country and lashed out at the authorities for their 'lack of willingness' to stop the dehumanising practice.

Officials of 'SOS Esclaves' and the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) in Mauritania told a news conference in Nouakchott to mark 23 August, the International Day in Memory of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, that they would continue to fight against the degrading practice.

Boubacar Ould Messaoud, the president of 'SOS Esclaves', strongly condemned the attitude of Mauritanian authorities who have ignored 'this important date, thus persisting in their shameful attitude of denying slavery'.

'In the face of such contempt expressed by the authorities towards all victims who bear in their flesh and soul the indelible marks of Mauritanian slavery over the years, SOS Esclaves and IRA Mauritania reaffirm their solidarity and determination to continue the fight,' he said.

The anti-slavery NGOs also noted that 'instead of remembering the victims of slavery, the Mauritanian authorities are striving to foil the actions of anti-slavery activists and are trying to silence them by all means'.

A law passed in 2007 criminalises the practice of slavery in Mauritania. However, anti-slavery NGOs are repeatedly talking of cases and denouncing the 'impunity' of the perpetrators.

It was in the night of 22 to 23 August, 1791 that an insurrection of slaves broke out in Saint Domingue, now Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which was to play a decisive role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.