May 09, 2022

Haratin : IRA-Mauritania President Biram Dah Abeid Meets With UN Special Rapporteur On Contemporary Forms of Slavery

The Special Rapporteur on Modern Slavery for the United Nations Mr Tomoya Obokata has met with the President of IRA-Mauritania Biram Dah Abeid in the offices of the UN OHCHR. The meeting took place in the presence of a representative of the OHCHR in Mauritania and the Secretary-general of IRA-Mauritania. IRA-Mauritania sources said that the meeting was a success and a welcome opportunity to discuss the issue of modern slavery across the world and in Mauritania in particular.

The Special Rapporteur and the President discussed various questions relating to the issue of modern slavery, including obstacles to surmount to achieve full citizenship rights for all castes that still suffer from slavery in the North African country.

The Haratin still face modern forms of slavery. Inroads are being made with IRA-Mauritania recently organising a summit that convened anti-slavery movements across Northern Africa, sponsored by the Mauritanian government. The Mauritanian government has also showed other signs it is willing to negotiate the re-integration of Haratin into Mauritanian society, including talks between IRA-M and their leadership.

In 2020, UNPO released a Universal Periodic Review report calling out the Mauritanian government for its neglect in maintaining the Haratin as a slave caste and imprisoning Mr Dah Abeid in order to deny his rightful place in the Mauritanian political landscape.

UNPO notes that it is partially thanks to international advocacy at UN level, led by the IRA-Mauritania, that deep-rooted changes have been made regarding the issue of slavery in Mauritania in the past two years. Their efforts provide a blueprint for other ethnicities or castes that suffer from slavery as a form of oppression and we welcome the progress they have made in ensuring Haratin are free in their own land.