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Mauritania: Contributing to the elimination of persistent slavery practices

Mauritania |

Duration: February 2020 – February 2022

Country: Mauritania

Communities: Various

What is this programme about?

At the heart of our project lies the fight against slavery and its consequences as well as all forms of intrinsic discriminations. This project aims at raising awareness among the most marginalised 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 will be put in place alongside with advocacy work not only at the local and national but also at the regional and international levels. From then onwards, this initiative will complement 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 discriminations by lobbying relevant judicial actors and institutions.

Why are we delivering this programme?

Mauritania officially abolished slavery in 1981 and made it a criminal offence in 2007. It introduced a stronger anti-slavery legislation in 2015 currently in force 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 Harratine. The Beydan control 80% of the state apparatus as well as foreign trade despite the fact that they only account for about 30% 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 Harratine have been forced to work on farms or in homes with no hope of freedom, education or pay.

What are we aiming to achieve?

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

Who are our partners?

Our partners are:

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

Who is funding this programme?

This programme is 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

This content is the sole responsibility of Minority Rights Group International and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

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