Apr 25, 2013

UNPO Appeal: Help Mauritanian Dockworkers Strike For Rights

As 7,000 slave dockworkers in Mauritania’s Port de l’Amitié continue their strike, awareness continues to be raised about slavery’s common practice in Mauritania, all thanks to their bravery and uncompromising stance towards the authorities. However, for such a practice to end after decades of governmental nonchalance, international pressure on the government of Mauritania needs to be built up as well.

So as to ensure the success of these dockworkers’ campaign, IRA (Initiative pour la Résurgence du mouvement Abolitionniste) has called, in collaboration with UNPO, for several basic demands to be met by Mauritanian authorities. These can be found in IRA’s latest press release (English and French versions available).

The dockworker's basic demands include:

1- The dismissal of Mohamed Ould Cheikhna, Director of the Employment Office (BEMOB), and the inclusion of workers in the Office’s management so as to achieve its main aim of being at the service of workers, and not the opposite.

2- A raise in the price of cargo from the current rate of 1 ouguiya to 3 ouguiya per kilogramme [for indicative purposes, 1 EUR = 350 MRO].

3- The construction of a fully equipped infirmary for the dockworkers and the availability of an ambulance.

Additional help in the form of donations would not only be proof of solidarity, but also allow these workers to carry on their action without having to abandon their ideals because of financial limitations.

The force of 7,000 workers on strike is an important addition to the all the work carried out by anti-slavery campaigners in Mauritania and from abroad, and has not reached deaf ears in Mauritania’s political strata. IRA has called for donations (food, drinks, …) to be made on behalf of the strikers and has asked UNPO’s logistical support in collecting funds from abroad.


UNPO hereby invites any donors wishing to support the strikers to make a donation through its PayPal account or bank transfer, clearly mentioning “IRA”. UNPO will ensure the transfer and the correct allocation of funds aimed at contributing to the striker’s cause.


UNPO has long supported the cause of the Haratin and those afflicted by the government’s obstinate refusal to abide by international Human Rights covenants and its lack of response to (inter)national calls to put an end to such an ancestral practice. UNPO upholds its commitment to campaigning against contemporary slavery cases, of which these dockworkers are a telling example.


For enquiries, press or other, please contact IRA members,

-        Biram Dah Abeid (Mauritania) – 00 222 47 57 67 97 – [email protected]

-        Brahim Bilal Abeid (Mauritania) – 00 222 22 47 85 17 – [email protected]

-        Abidine Merzough (Germany) – 0049 176 67 27 70 44 – [email protected]


Or UNPO in Brussels at [email protected] or 0032 2 513 14 59



















Strikers show off tear gas canisters launched at strikers by security forces (@lissnup)



















Striker injured by tear gas canister (@lissnup)
























Security details arrive on the site of the striker sit in (@lissnup)

























Biram Dah Abeid delivers speech in support of dockworkers on strike (@IRA)