Mar 15, 2016

IRA-Mauritania Protest in Brussels

Despite considerable international pressure, the so-called Roadmap adopted by the Mauritanian government to eradicate slavery continues to not be properly implemented. IRA-Mauritania denounces this inertia and calls for the liberation of imprisoned anti-slavery activists such as Biram Dah Abeid and his colleague Brahim Ramdhane, who have been in prison for over a year. For these reasons, the Belgian section of IRA-Mauritania, in collaboration with UNPO, will be protesting on Tuesday 15 March from 14h30 at the Schuman Roundabout in Brussels.

After consistent international pressures against hereditary slavery in Mauritania, which was only abolished in 1981 and criminalised in the 2000s, the Mauritanian government published, on 6 March 2014, a Roadmap to combat the vestiges of slavery.

In Mauritania, slavery is passed down from generation to generation, thus they are automatically excluded from having any land property. This tribal, feudal, and racist society adheres to these false branches of Islam, which dominate these ancestral prerogatives. We estimate that 40% of the population is kept in slavery, in various forms, and it essentially concerns the black ethnic group.

Each week, at Nouakchott, pacific protesters call for the complete abolition of human slavery and land loss but they are strongly repressed by the police. During UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit to Nouakchott on 4 March, many activists gathered to hand him a letter. Unfortunately, the result was their arbitrary imprisonment and the injury of many of them, who had to be urgently brought to the hospital.

Two of the anti-slavery movement's leaders, Biram Dah Abeid and Brahim Bilal Ramdane, have been in prison since November 2014 and all their requests for release in the Constitutional Council have never been taken into account.

Two years after the adoption of the Roadmap, the result is very disappointing: no real political will to implement it has been perceived, despite the importance that this problem has for a large part of Mauritania's population.

The Society for Threatened Peoples and UNPO have recently denounced this through a detailed report that was published on 26 February 2016 in coordination with five other organisations including IRA-Mauritania.

On 16 March, Mauritania will have its Universal Periodic Review at the UN headquarters in Geneva. An IRA-Mauritania delegation will be present in order to remind the assembly that the Mauritanian government have not followed through on the commitments they agreed two years ago when adopting the Roadmap. Only a few hours later, UNPO and the Nonviolent Radical Party will be convening a side-event to the XXXI Human Rights Council session, to discuss the concerning human rights situation in the country.