Landmark ruling on Mauritania’s continued failure to eradicate child slavery
A new briefing by MRG looks into the background and implications of a groundbreaking ruling in an anti-slavery case in Mauritania.
Despite being banned by law, slavery and slavery-like practices remain widespread in the country, with thousands of people – most of whom belong to the marginalized Haratine ethnic group – still trapped in servitude.
In November 2011, in the first prosecution under the 2007 Anti-Slavery Law, Ahmed Ould El Hassine was found guilty of holding two brothers, Said and Yarg Ould Salem, in slavery and depriving them of schooling. Despite this apparent milestone, however, the sentences imposed were well below the minimum terms stipulated by the law and the slave master was subsequently released on bail just four months after his conviction.
In response, MRG and SOS Esclaves brought a case before the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. In December 2017, the Committee ruled that Mauritania had failed to take adequate measures to prevent, prosecute and remedy slavery and found multiple violations of its obligations to protect children’s rights under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Read more about the history of the case and our recommendations for the future in the new briefing.