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Slavery looms large over Mauritania

In March, Mauritanian authorities arrested and deported freelance photojournalist Seif Kousmate, claiming he was a suspected terrorist – but also citing ‘his activism in support of the cause of the descendants of slaves’.[1] The Mauritanian government continues to deny the existence of slavery, but thousands remain enslaved.[2]

Mauritania is near the bottom of the 3rd quartile and has seen significant decline in XpA over the last decade. During the same period, the country saw their largest drops in Protection (from 0.59 in 2008 to 0.26 in 2018) and Transparency (from 0.60 in 2008 to 0.28 in 2018) scores. 

Journalists investigating the ongoing slave trade in Mauritania face deportation or slavery. In April 2017, Tiphaine Gosse – a French freelance journalist who was investigating slavery in Mauritania – was ordered to leave the country or be jailed.[3]

Mauritanian HRDs who speak out against the persistent practices of slavery and discrimination in the country have faced arbitrary arrest, torture, detention in remote prisons, and the systematic banning of their gathering.[4]

 

 

[1] Reporters without Borders, Mauritania Expels Freelance Photographer for Investigating Slavery, 27 March 2018, available at https://rsf.org/en/news/mauritania-expels-freelance-photographer-investigating-slavery

[2] Amnesty International, Mauritania: Growing Repression of Human Rights Defenders Who Denounce Discrimination and Slavery, 21 March 2018, available at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/03/mauritania-slavery-and-discrimination-human-rights-defenders-repressed/

[3] Marie Foray and Tiphaine Gosse, ‘Esclavage en Mauritanie: “Les autorités sont dans l’hypocrisie et le déni”’, Le Monde, 16 May 2017, available at http://abonnes.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2017/05/16/esclavage-en-mauritanie-les-autorites-sont-dans-l-hypocrisie-et-le-deni_5128347_3212.html

[4] Amnesty International, Mauritania: Growing Repression of Human Rights Defenders Who Denounce Discrimination and Slavery, 21 March 2018, available at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/03/mauritania-slavery-and-discrimination-human-rights-defenders-repressed/

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