Feb 04, 2013

Haratin: Five New Cases Of Slavery Proved In Guerou and Nouakchott

The Initiative for the Resurgence of Abolition (IRA) found new cases of slavery in the capital of Mauritania and the town of Guerou.


Below is an article published by IRA-Mauritania:


During the "Caravan of freedom" from 24 to 28 January 2013, from the city of Nema in the far east of the country to Nouakchott, the capital, and at its stop in the town Guerou (70 km west of Kiffa), the Initiative for the Resurgence of Abolition (IRA) found four cases of slavery attested by a number of inhabitants of the city.  The cases concern these families who own slaves: Sadvi Jiddou Ould Ahmed, Ahmed Ould Mawloud Khaled Naji Ould Lemane and Khaled. As for the victims, it is a 12 year old child held in slavery by the so-called Echayaa Mint Ebbouh, wife of Sadvi Jiddou Ould Ahmed and another slave by the name of Emma M Ould Jaffar in the service of Fatimetou Mint Echewav, wife of Khaled Ahmad Ould Mawloud. IRA was unable to access the identity of the other two victims of slavery whose master, having heard of an imminent intervention, took them away from the city.

IRA filed a civil complaint with the judicial authorities against the perpetrators of slavery. The written complaint was discharged by the prefect of Guerou dated 27 January 2013. The police commissioner who had registered the complaint was committed to submit to the Prosecutor of the Republic of the regional capital Kiffa. The next day, the same commissioner transferred the file involving Echayaa Mint Ebbouh to judicial authorities in Kiffa. But the Attorney hastened to leave the accused at liberty pending judicial review while requesting that the victim's mother be brought forward who lives nearby. This is a typical characteristic of [Mauritanian] justice which requires Bidhane to arrest the mother of the victim in addition to or even instead of the accused.

As for the other three cases of slavery, the police in Guerou simply ignored them. It seems that the administrative authorities are more concerned with helping to remove evidence of crimes [of slavery] rather than apply the law.

At last, a tribal meeting, with members of the tribe Tajekanet (the majority in Guerou) and others Ideygheb (Echayaa tribe which was heard by the court), has been held in recent days. Following this meeting, it was decided to organize a protest march to demand clemency from the authorities against the accused and exemplary punishment against the president of IRA who instigated the humiliation of Mrs. Echayya Mint Ebbouhen being dragged before the courts ... The walk was actually held in Guerou with great fanfare as speakers demanded that Biram Dah Abeid and his comrades be punished as revenge for the honor of the woman scorned.

In Nouakchott, another case was announced by office of IRA in Dar Naim. The victim is a boy named Cheikh Ould El Hacen, about 10 years old, the son of El Hacen and Lalla mint Salem. Brought to Nouakchott, a month ago by Mr. Mohamed Ould Lehbib Essouvy Ould Elbar, he lived, according to his testimony to the police, in the town Lebneya in the Commune of Tintane in Hodh Elgharbi. Ould Essouvy is also the master of Cheikh's parents. He "imported" Sheikh to "help" his wife Zeynab Mint Weyah. According to the statements of the young slave, all children of the family are educated and fed, except for him. However, when he was in his village he went to school. Among his masters, he does not go to school, and instead, he has to take care of cleaning the house and doing the dishes.

The Office of IRA, has also filed a complaint against the perpetrators of slavery and guided the team of juvenile affairs to the home of the accused. The child and the wife of his owner were taken to the police station; the husband had traveled to work in Mali. The police eventually entrusted the care of the young slave to IRA Dar Naim.

The latest case was presented Thursday, January 31, 2013 to the public prosecutor in Nouakchott, who decided to return to the juvenile for further investigation, seeking to bring the victim's parents and the master who will be brought to Nouakchott. Note that - until now - the police have no plans to bring in the people affected by the investigation and the accused party, Mrs. Zeinebou mint Weyah, was simply relaxed for the prosecutor.

Due to the discovery of these proven cases of slavery and the unwillingness of the State to treat them properly, our organization, IRA-Mauritania, decided to launch a series of protests and sit-ins from Saturday, February 2, 2013, and simultaneously in Nouakchott and Kiffa and Guerou to force the authorities to address these five proven cases of slavery. In addition, the President of IRA, Biram Dah Abeid, plans to return to Guerou to follow-up on these issues and see what results from queries of accused slaveowners, who not only have been caught in slavery, consider it, with impunity, an affront to their honor to even be questioned by judicial authorities without exhibiting any shame at maintaining fellow human beings in slavery.

The Initiative for the Resurgence of Abolition, after investigating the cases described above, states the following:

1 - Authorities have a duty to apply the entire law criminalizing slavery and especially the law 048/2007 and the constitutional text of 2012 that affirms that slavery is a crime against humanity .

2 – We appeal to public, national, and international organizations for the defense of human rights, political parties and elected officials to stand alongside slaves and descendants of slaves who are victims of the official denial of slavery in a country where cases remain in servitude are now [known to be] legion, not just in Guerou;

3 - Our intention is to use all lawful and peaceful means to bring the country's authorities to deal with the issue of slavery, devoting the attention it requires, while seeing that the culprits are punished and victims restored to their moral and material rights.

Nouakchott February 1, 2013

The Executive Committee