Mauritania: Contributing to the elimination of persistent slavery practices

Mauritania |

Duration: February 2020 – February 2022

Country: Mauritania

Communities: Various

What was this programme about?

At the heart of our programme lay the fight against slavery and its consequences as well as all forms of intrinsic discrimination. This programme aimed at raising awareness among the most marginalized communities about their fundamental rights, more broadly about the plight of slavery for the general population but also to create a dialogue with decision and policymakers and different stakeholders such as judges and prosecutors. This awareness-raising effort was put in place alongside advocacy work, not only at the local and national but also at the regional and international levels. From then onwards, this initiative complemented the efforts already pursued by the Mauritanian government in this field. It will also contribute to the promotion of the regional and international frameworks implemented to combat slavery, slavery-like practices and discrimination by lobbying relevant judicial actors and institutions.

Why did we deliver this programme?

Mauritania officially abolished slavery in 1981 and made it a criminal offence in 2007. It introduced stronger anti-slavery legislation in 2015 but has systematically failed to end its practice with the persistence of descent-based enslavement among the population. The Arab Berbers or Moors among the population are divided into two groups: the Beydan or White Moor and their former and current slaves, the Haratines. The Beydan control 80 per cent of the state apparatus as well as foreign trade despite the fact that they only account for about 30 per cent of the population. Anti-slavery laws and measures put in place to insure not only the condemnation of slaves’ masters but also former slaves’ economic reinsertion have never been fully and properly implemented. Trapped into a master-slave relationship, the Haratines have been forced to work on farms or in homes with no hope of freedom, education or pay.

What did we aim to achieve?

  • Significant improvement of local capacity to combat slavery and discrimination, legal and social empowerment
  • Allow better enforcement of anti-slavery laws
  • At least 100 victims supported with a view to initiating their social and economic reinsertion

How did we do?

Click here to read the evaluation report of this programme in English, Arabic or French.

Who were our partners?

Our partners were:

  • Anti-Slavery International (ASI)
  • SOS-Esclaves
  • Association des Femmes Chefs de Famille (AFCF)

Who funded this programme?

This programme was funded by:

  • The European Union
  • The United Nations Voluntary Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery
  • The United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour

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