Islamic Republic of Mauritania
Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
Joined United Nations: 27 October 1961
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 12 December 2012
3,359,185 (July 2012 est.)
Moulaye Ould Mohamed Laghdaf
Prime Minister since 06 August 2008
Assumed presidency when Mauritanian President Sidi Mohamed
Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was deposed in a bloodless coup on 06
NOTE- A special election was held on 18 July 2009 where by in
which Abdel Aziz was certified. Election commission head
Sid'Ahmed Ould Deye resigned following formal opposition
complaints and an appeal lodged with Mauritania’s Constitutional
Next scheduled election: 2014
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT
Prime Minister appointed by the President of the High Council
of the State of Mauritania following bloodless coup
Next scheduled election: 2011
|DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Mixed Moor/black 40%, Moor 30%, black 30%
Republic with 12 regions (regions, singular - region) and 1 capital district; Legal system is a combination of Islamic law and French
civil law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Executive: A coup d'état took place in Mauritania on 6 August 2008 when Mauritanian President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh
Abdallahi was ousted from power by a group of high ranking generals he had dismissed from office earlier that day. A special
election was held on 18 July 2009 where by in which Abdel Aziz was certified. Election commission head Sid'Ahmed Ould Deye
resigned following formal opposition complaints and an appeal lodged with Mauritania’s Constitutional Court. (next to be held by
Legislative: Bicameral legislature consists of the Senate or Majlis al-Shuyukh (56 seats; members elected by municipal leaders to
serve six-year terms; a portion of seats up for election every two years) and the National Assembly or Majlis al-Watani (95 seats;
members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - Senate - last held in November 2009; National Assembly - last held on 19 November and 3 December 2006
(election scheduled for 16 October 2011 postponed, was rescheduled for 31 March 2012 but never occurred, No other date set)
Judicial: Supreme Court or Cour Supreme; Court of Appeals; lower courts
Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, French, Hassaniya, Wolof
The history of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania dates back to the 3rd century. Mauritania is named after the ancient Berber
kingdom of Mauretania. From the 3rd to 7th century, the migration of Berber tribes from North Africa displaced the Bafours, the
original inhabitants of present-day Mauritania and the ancestors of the Soninké. Continued Arab-Berber migration drove indigenous
black Africans south to the Senegal River or enslaved them . By 1076, Islamic warriors (the Almoravid or Al Murabitun) completed
the conquest of southern Mauritania, defeating the ancient Ghana Empire, only to go on to form the ruling dynasty in Morocco and
Muslim Spain, to the north. Over the next 500 years, Arab immigrants gradually overcame Berber resistance and came to dominate
the tribal areas composed of todays Mauritania, Western Sahara, southern Morocco, north-west Mali and western Algeria. The
"Mauritanian Thirty-Year War" (1644-74) was the unsuccessful final Berber effort to repel the Maqil Arab invaders (originating in
Yemen), who were led by the Beni Hassan tribe. This was a time of great economic prosperity, with the invention of syrup. The
descendants of Beni Hassan's nomad warriors became the upper stratum of Moorish society, the warrior Hassane caste, who
extracted the horma tax in cattle and goods from subordinate, weaker tribes. Berbers retained influence by producing the majority
of the region's Zawiya or marabouts—those who preserve and teach Islamic tradition, while tribes who could neither defend
themselves against Hassane extortion or assert themselves culturally/religiously, were reduced to the demeaning role of Znaga, at the
bottom rung of society, just above the slaves. The slave population, bought or kidnapped in slave raids from southern black tribes,
eventually yielded a large Arabized and assimilated caste of its own, at the heart of Moorish society - these "black Moors" or
Haratin were formally freed slaves, but often remained - and some remain today - in more informal forms of bondage, living close to
and attending to a noble "white Moor" family of Hassane or Zawiya heritage. Moorish society remained fully tribal, with ancient
customs and religion being the only law of the land, and the tribe's military and political prowess its only guarantee and protection
against others. Intercommunal warfare, closely linked with common cattle-raiding and robbery, was extremely common, and
alliances could shift rapidly and unpredictably. Despite this, a few powerful tribal chiefs managed to gain legitimacy in certain areas
as Emirs ("Princes"), such as in the case of the Emirate of Trarza. Hassaniya, a Berber-influenced Arabic dialect which derives its
name from the Beni Hassan, became the dominant language among the Moors, who retained their nomadic traditions. In the south,
however, elements of the Soninké and other groups settled into a farming society along the banks of the Senegal river. French
colonization at the beginning of the 20th century brought legal prohibitions against slavery and determined attempts to break the rule
of the powerful Hassane in favour of previously dominated Zawia and Znaga tribes, who were sought as allies by the colonial
forces. French military domination forcibly ended interclan warfare, and thus also the Hassane's opportunities to dominate other
tribes. Still, the nomads' mobile lifestyle, refusal to abandon their traiditional culture and customs, and their complex but resilient
tribal societal structure made French attempts to build a centralized state and a loyal, French-backed elite complicated. During the
colonial period, the population remained nomadic, but increasing numbers of sedentary black Africans, whose ancestors had been
expelled centuries earlier by the Moors, began to trickle back into southern Mauritania. With some educated in French language
and customs, and without tribal ties to the rebellious Moorish north, many of these recent arrivals were taken in as clerks, soldiers,
and administrators in the new state by the French administrators. As the country gained independence on November 28, 1960, the
capital city Nouakchott was founded at the site of a small colonial village, the Ksar, while 90% of the population was still nomadic.
With independence, larger numbers of ethnic Sub-Saharan Africans (Haalpulaar, Soninke, and Wolof) entered Mauritania, moving
into the area north of the Senegal River. As before independence, the sedentary lifestyle of these groups made them more receptible
to and useful in state formation, and they quickly came to dominate state administration, even if the Moorish groups built up by the
French remained in charge of the political process. Moors reacted to this change by increasing pressures for Arabization, to
Arabicize many aspects of Mauritanian life, such as law and language, and ethnic tension built up - helped by a common memory of
warfare and slave raids. President Moktar Ould Daddah, originally helped to the post by the French, rapidly reformed Mauritania
into an authoritarian one-party state in 1964, with his new constitution. Daddah's own Parti du Peuple Mauritanien (PPM) became
the ruling organization. The President justified this decision on the grounds that he considered Mauritania unready for western-style
multi-party democracy. Under this one-party constitution, Daddah was reelected in uncontested elections in 1966, 1971 and 1976.
In 1975, partly for nationalist reasons and partly for fear of Moroccan expansionism, Mauritania invaded and annexed the southern
third of the former Spanish Sahara (now Western Sahara) in 1975, renaming it Tiris al-Gharbiyya. However, after nearly three years
of raids by the Sahrawi guerrillas of the Polisario Front, Mauritania's economic and political stability began to crumble. Despite
French and Moroccan military aid, Polisario raids against the Zouerate railway and mines threatened to bring about economic
collapse, and there were deep misgivings in the military about the Saharan adventure. Ethnic unrest contributed to the disarray.
Black Africans from the south were conscripted as front-line soldiers, after the northern Sahrawi minorities and their Moorish kin
had proven unreliable in the fight against Polisario, but many of the southerners rebelled against having to fight what they considered
an inter-Arab war. On July 10, 1978, Col. Mustafa Ould Salek ousted led a bloodless coup d’état that ousted the President, who
would later go into exile in France. In 1979, Polisario broke off the cease-fire and unleashed a string of new attacks on military and
government targets. Mauritania, under its new government, immediately returned to the table to meet Polisario's goals, declaring full
peace, a troop retreat, relinquishing their portion of Western Sahara and recognizing the Front as the Sahrawi people's sole
representative. Morocco, occupying the northern half of Western Sahara and also involved in combat against Polisario, reacted with
outrage, and launched a failed 1981 coup against the CMSN. Mauritania broke off relations with Rabat in protest, although ties
were later restored. On December 12, 1984, Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya deposed Haidallah and declared himself Chairman
of the CMSN. Like other rulers before him, he promised a swift transfer to democracy, but then made little of these promises. The
discord between conflicting visions of Mauritanian society as either black or Arab, again rose to the surface during the
intercommunal violence that broke out in April 1989 (the "1989 Events"), when a Mauritania-Senegal border dispute escalated into
violence between the two communities. Tens of thousands of black Mauritanians fled or were expelled from the country, and many
remain in Senegal as refugees. Opposition parties were legalized and a new constitution approved in 1991 which put an end to
formal military rule. However, Ould Taya's election wins were dismissed as fraudulent by both opposition groups and external
observers. In 1998, Mauritania became the third Arab country to recognize Israel, despite strong internal opposition. In 2001,
elections incorporated more safeguards against voter fraud but opposition candidate (and former leader) Mohamed Khouna Ould
Haidallah was nevertheless arrested prior to election day on charges of planning a coup, released the same day, and rearrested after
the election. On June 8, 2003 a failed coup attempt was made against President Maaouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya by forces
unhappy with his imprisonment of Islamic leaders in the wake of the US-led invasion of Iraq and his establishment of full diplomatic
relations with Israel. The coup was suppressed after one day of fighting in the capital when pro-Taya military forces arrived from the
countryside. On August 3, 2005, it was reported that the Mauritanian military, including members of the presidential guard, had
seized control of key points in the capital of Nouakchott, indicating a possible coup against the government of President Maaouya
Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya who was out of the country, attending the funeral of Saudi King Fahd. Taya was never able to return to the
country, and remains in exile. The new junta called itself the Military Council for Justice and Democracy, and democracy and rule of
law. Col.. Ely Ould Mohamed Vall emerged as leader at an early stage. Dissidents were released, and the political climate relaxed.
A new constitution was approved in June 2006. Elections were held in March 2007, Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was elected
president and Vall stood down. Assumed presidency when Mauritanian President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi was
deposed in a bloodless coup on 06 August 2008. According to an official statement released on August 7, Abdallahi's powers were
terminated and Mauritania would be governed on a transitional basis by an 11-member High Council of State, with Abdel Aziz as
the President of the Council, until a new presidential election was held "in the shortest possible period". On 5 February 2009,
Mauritanian state media reported that the General would stand as a candidate for president in that election. n order to stand as a
candidate in the presidential election, Abdel Aziz was required to step down as Head of State. He did so on 15 April, as expected,
and the President of the Senate, Ba Mamadou Mbare, succeeded him in an interim capacity. The Union for the Republic political
party elected Abdel Aziz as its President at the party's constituent assembly on 5 May 2009. In the presidential election held on 18
July 2009, Abdel Aziz won a first-round majority of 52.58%. He then resigned as party leader on 2 August 2009, as the President
of Mauritania cannot be a member of any party. Abdel Aziz was sworn in as President at a ceremony held in Nouakchott on 5
August 2009. Abdel Aziz was non-fatally shot on 13 October 2012. Reports are conflicting as to where on his body Abdel Aziz
was shot and whether the incident was an accident or an assassination attempt. The country's Communications Minister, Hamdi
Ould Mahjoub, reported that the president was shot in the arm, while Reuters medical sources said it was in the abdomen. Initially,
Mauritanian radio reported that Abdel Aziz survived an assassination attempt, but Abdel Aziz subsequently said that he was
accidentally shot by an army unit and was successfully operated on for minor injuries. Witnesses claim Abdel Aziz was directly
targeted by men who ran away after the shooting. Abdel Aziz received an initial operation at a military hospital in the Mauritanian
capital of Nouakchott, and then, according to the French defense ministry, would be transferred to Percy-Clamart military hospital
in Paris for additional treatment.
Source: Wikipedia: History of Mauritania
Half the population still depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though many of the nomads and subsistence
farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s. Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore,
which account for nearly 40% of total exports. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world but
overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue. The country's first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in
1986. Before 2000, drought and economic mismanagement resulted in a buildup of foreign debt. In February 2000, Mauritania
qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and nearly all of its foreign debt has since been
forgiven. A new investment code approved in December 2001 improved the opportunities for direct foreign investment. Mauritania
and the IMF agreed to a three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement in 2006. Mauritania made
satisfactory progress, but the IMF, World Bank, and other international actors suspended assistance and investment in Mauritania
after the August 2008 coup. Since the presidential election in July 2009, donors have resumed assistance. Oil prospects, while
initially promising, have largely failed to materialize, and the government has placed a priority on attracting private investment to spur
economic growth. The Government also emphasizes reduction of poverty, improvement of health and education, and privatization of
the economy. Economic growth remained above 5% in 2010-11, mostly because of rising prices of gold, copper, iron ore, and oil.
Source: CIA World Factbook (select Mauritania)
On August 6, 2008, Mauritania's presidential spokesman Abdoulaye Mamadouba said President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi,
Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf and the interior minister, were arrested by renegade Senior Mauritanian army officers,
unknown troops and a group of generals, and were held under house arrest at the presidential palace in Nouakchott. In the
apparently successful and bloodless coup d'etat, Abdallahi daughter, Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi said: "The security agents of the
BASEP (Presidential Security Battalion) came to our home and took away my father."The coup plotters are top fired Mauritania’s
security forces, which include General Muhammad Ould ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz, General Muhammad Ould Al-Ghazwani, General Philippe
Swikri, and Brigadier General (Aqid) Ahmad Ould Bakri. Mauritanian lawmaker, Mohammed Al Mukhtar, announced that "many
of the country's people were supporting the takeover attempt and the government is "an authoritarian regime" and that the president
had "marginalized the majority in parliament."
Following the August 2008 coup, the High State Council planned to hold a new presidential election in June 2009; the election was
subsequently rescheduled to 18 July 2009 following the Dakar Accords, which brought Mauritania back to constitutional rule; under
Mauritania's constitution, the president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held on 18 July 2009 (next to be
held by 2014). The first fully democratic Presidential election since 1960 occurred on 11 March 2007. The election was the final
transfer from military to civilian rule following the military coup in 2005. This was the first time the president was selected by ballot in
the country's history. The election was won by Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who was ousted by a military coup in 2008 and
replaced by general Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Personalities have long exercised an important influence in the politics of
Mauritania - the effective exercise of political power in the country depends on control over resources; perceived ability or integrity;
and tribal, ethnic, family, and personal considerations. Conflict between white Moor, black Moor, and non-Moor ethnic groups,
centering on language, land tenure, and other issues, continues to pose challenges to the idea of national unity.
Source: Wikipedia: Politics of Mauritania
Mauritanian claims to Western Sahara remain dormant.
Refugees (country of origin): 48,000 (Mali); 26,000 (Western Saharan Sahrawi) (2012)
|HUMAN RIGHTS STATEMENTS, ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUES
|2011 Human Rights Report: Mauritania
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
May 25, 2012
Mauritania is a highly centralized Islamic republic with a president as head of state. The legislative function is exercised by the Senate
and National Assembly, the former consisting of representatives chosen indirectly by municipal councilors and the latter directly elected
by the voters. The legislative bodies were weak relative to the executive. The election of Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz as president in 2009
ended a political crisis caused by Aziz’s 2008 coup d’etat against then president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi. International observers
declared the 2009 presidential election to be generally free and fair. In 2009 the majority party, Union for the Republic (UPR), won most
of the seats in the indirect election to refill one-third of the Senate seats. The government indefinitely postponed new Senate, National
Assembly, and municipal elections scheduled to take place during the year in accordance with the opposition’s initial request, although
controversy over the constitutionality of the election timetable continued throughout the year. Security forces reported to civilian
Continuing slavery, slavery-related practices, and trafficking in persons were central human rights problems. Popular concern over
control of the security forces was highlighted when police clashed with demonstrators protesting social, political, and economic
problems, resulting in at least one death attributed to police. Prison conditions remained far below acceptable standards.
Other reported human rights problems were the use of torture by police to extract confessions, arbitrary arrests, lengthy pretrial
detention, government influence over the judiciary, limits on freedom of the press and assembly, restrictions on religious freedom for
non-Muslims, corruption, discrimination against women, female genital mutilation (FGM), child marriage, political marginalization of
southern-based ethnic groups, racial and ethnic discrimination, child labor, and inadequate enforcement of labor laws.
The government took some steps to punish officials who committed abuses and prosecuted a number of them. Civil society
organizations objected to the small number indicted and alleged that some of the prosecutions, particularly those involving official
corruption, were politically motivated.
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24 August 2010
Human Rights Council
Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to
Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, Gulnara
Mission to Mauritania
In accordance with her mandate contained in Human Rights Council resolution 6/14 and at the invitation of the Government of
Mauritania, the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, Gulnara Shahinian,
conducted an official mission to Mauritania from 24 October to 4 November 2009. The main objective of the mission was to look at the
effectiveness of the Mauritanian policies, laws and specific programmes to combat slavery. The mission also explored the extent to
which factors like discrimination, poverty, culture, religion, education and employment policies hinder or contribute to the end of slavery.
Slavery in Mauritania was abolished in 1980 and criminalized in 2007. Despite laws, programmes and difference of opinion with regard
to the existence of slavery in Mauritania, the Special Rapporteur concluded that de facto slavery continues to exist in Mauritania.
The Special Rapporteur met with victims of slavery who had been utterly deprived of their basic human rights. These victims had
recently fled from their masters and reported that they had left family members behind. The absence of alternative livelihoods and
protection from high levels of illiteracy, limited information, combined with the separation of families, and methods of control used by
masters that include the use of religion have resulted in a deep–rooted acceptance of their inherited slavery status. In addition, there is
resistance from masters to change this way of life. Consequently, de facto slavery in Mauritania continues to be a slow, invisible process
which results in the “social death” of many thousands of women and men.
Based on her findings, the Special Rapporteur made, among others, the following recommendations: that the 2007 Slavery Act be
amended to contain a clearer definition of slavery to aid judicial enforcement, provide for victim assistance and socio–economic
programmes to aid victims’ reintegration into society. The Special Rapporteur further recommends that the Government of Mauritania
develop a comprehensive and holistic national strategy to combat slavery.
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Freedom In The World 2012 Report
Political Rights Score: 6
Civil Liberties Score: 5
Status: Not Free
In August 2011, municipal and legislative elections planned for October were postponed indefinitely. Antigovernment protests by several
groups took place during the year. A September demonstration against the new national census, which black Mauritanians alleged was
discriminatory, resulted in the death of at least one protester. Monetary Fund (IMF) also restarted their development programs, which
had been suspended following the 2008 coup.
In April 2009, Aziz announced that he would resign from the military in order to run for president. Despite initial resistance, opposition
parties agreed to participate in the presidential vote after six days of negotiations. Under international pressure, the HSC handed power in
June to a transitional government to supervise an election set for July.
Aziz won the election in the first round with 52.6 percent of the vote. Four opposition parties claimed that the results were
predetermined, electoral lists had been tampered with, and fraudulent voters had used fake ballot papers and identity cards. The parties
lodged a formal appeal with the Constitutional Council that was ultimately rejected, and the head of the electoral commission resigned
over doubts about the election’s conduct. While some opposition parties continued to protest the outcome, the Rally for Democratic
Forces (RDF) recognized Aziz’s presidency in September 2010, citing the need for unity in the face of increased terrorist attacks by
In May 2011, Aziz initiated a new census, the finalization of voter lists, and the automation of national identity cards. Nevertheless,
municipal and legislative elections planned for October were postponed indefinitely in August. Two leading opposition parties had
requested this delay, claiming that a promised dialogue with Aziz on wide-ranging political and electoral reforms had yet to occur. A
national dialogue took place from September to October to address those issues, as well as opposition complaints about lack of access to
the media; however, the elections had yet to be rescheduled as of the end of 2011. Protests by several sectors of society took place in
2011, including by the youth-led February 25 movement—inspired by the popular uprisings in the Arab world—as well as antislavery
activists and black Mauritanians alleging bias in the new census.
Mauritania is not an electoral democracy. The constitutional government created after the 2006 and 2007 elections was ousted by the
August 2008 military coup. The legitimacy of the 2009 presidential election, which installed coup leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz as
the civilian president, was challenged by the opposition but declared generally free and fair by international observers. Legislative
elections scheduled for October 2011 were postponed indefinitely.
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Mauritania: Amnesty International calls on Mauritania to live up to their obligations after the ratification of two key
11 October 2012
Amnesty International welcomes Mauritania’s commitment to the protection of human rights, illustrated by the recent ratifications of the
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Optional Protocol to the Convention
against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT). Amnesty International calls upon Mauritania
to take the necessary measures to ensure that these and other international human rights treaties are fully implemented in law, policy and
However, Amnesty International remains concerned of continuing reports of the very human rights violations that these treaties seek to
address. In particular, the organization is concerned at the continued enforced disappearance of 14 people convicted of terrorism-related
offences who were transferred from the central prison in the capital Nouakchott to an unknown location on 23 May 2011. Their place of
detention has remained undisclosed by the authorities since then. In failing to disclose the whereabouts of these 14 people, the
Mauritanian state is violating the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance which they
ratified on 3 October 2012. This Convention provides that “the arrest, detention, abduction, or any other form of deprivation of liberty or
by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, thereby placing such a person outside of the protection of the
law” amounts to enforced disappearance. Enforced disappearances can never be justified and constitute a crime under international
Amnesty International therefore calls upon Mauritania to immediately disclose where the 14 men are detained, to place them in a formal
place of detention and allow the prisoners’ families and lawyers to see them. The organisation also calls on the Mauritanian authorities to
ensure that the prisoners are allowed access to appropriate medical care. Those responsible for their enforced disappearance should be
brought to justice in fair trials, and the victims should be provided with reparations.
In the course of various missions to Mauritania conducted by Amnesty International, the organization also established that the security
forces systematically use torture and other illtreatment and that conditions of detention in several prisons remain deplorable.
Torture continues to be used as a method of investigation and repression against all types of detainees in Mauritania, men and women,
alleged Islamists and people arrested for common law offences. In particular, those detainees accused of terrorism, including some of
the 14 disappeared men, had been systematically tortured at the time of arrest and that some had been subjected to illtreatment in
detention. To Amnesty International’s knowledge, no inquiry has been conducted into these allegations. All reports of torture and other ill-
treatment must be promptly, independently, impartially and effectively investigated. Those suspected of carrying such acts out must be
brought to justice in fair proceedings, and victims provided with reparations.
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Mauritania: Surrender Abdullah Sanussi to ICC
Sanussi Wanted for Widespread Atrocities
March 17, 2012
(New York) – Mauritania should promptly surrender Libya’s former intelligence chief Abdullah Sanussi to the International Criminal
Court (ICC), where he is wanted for crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said today.
Sanussi was arrested Saturday in Mauritania, news agencies have reported. A senior Libyan official confirmed the arrest to Human
"Sanussi’s arrest is a crucial step for justice given the magnitude of the crimes he is accused of," said Richard Dicker, international
justice director at Human Rights Watch. "Now, to ensure justice, it’s imperative that Mauritania hand him over to the ICC for fair trial."
The brother-in-law of Muammar Gaddafi and long his senior intelligence official, Sanussi is wanted by the ICC for crimes against
humanity allegedly committed during the government’s crackdown of protests in early 2011. He is also implicated in many serious
human rights violations during Gaddafi’s rule, including the June 1996 killing of more than 1,200 prisoners in Tripoli’s Abu Salim prison.
Prisoners from that time told Human Rights Watch that Sanussi was the government’s chief negotiator, promising them safe treatment
prior to the killings. Sanussi was also convicted in absentia and sentenced to life in prison in France for the 1989 bombing of a passenger
jet over Niger.
The ICC investigation into the 2011 crackdown was authorized by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1970, adopted
unanimously on February 26, 2011.States parties to the ICC have a legal obligation to cooperate with the court. While Mauritania is not a
party to the court, the Council resolution urges all states to cooperate with the ICC, including the arrest and surrender of suspects.
“Mauritania should support the Security Council's unanimous action by transferring Sanussi now to The Hague,” Dicker said. "The
Security Council made the court’s investigation in Libya possible, and it should also press Mauritania to hand him over to the court."
The ICC judges granted arrest warrants on June 27, 2011, for Sanussi, as well as Muammar Gaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam. The
three were wanted for crimes against humanity for attacks on civilians, including peaceful demonstrators, in Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata,
and other locations in Libya. The ICC warrants apply only to events in Libya beginning on February 15, 2011.
The ICC's proceeding against Muammar Gaddafi was terminated following his death on October 20, but anti-Gaddafi forces
apprehended Saif al-Islam Gaddafi on November 19 in southern Libya and are holding him in the town of Zintan. Government officials
say they will try Saif al-Islam Gaddafi in Libya for his role during the government’s 2011 crackdown and prior corruption.
Dozens of other senior Gaddafi-era officials and their relatives are in custody, held either by the official government authorities or militias
around the country, the latter having no legal authority to hold detainees. The majority of these detainees have not had access to a lawyer
or been brought before a judge.
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Justice & Law
Organization of a training workshop for the benefit of judges on the basic freedoms guaranteed in the treatment of terrorism
The work of a training workshop for the benefit of judges on mechanisms to ensure essential freedoms in addressing issues of terrorism
began Wednesday morning at the courthouse in Nouakchott.
The meeting lasts one day is for judges specializing in the fight against terrorism (pole of the fight against terrorism at the courthouse)
and the Prosecutor General in Nouakchott court.
Participants in the session which is organized by the Ministry of Justice in collaboration with the French Cooperation Mission in
Mauritania discuss a number of presentations on the concept of terrorism, the sources of the latter, national laws designed to combat
The rules governing the work of the magistrate Mauritanian matter and guarantees the preservation of the rights and freedoms of
individuals and communities in the light of casework related to terrorism issues.
They will also discuss the main international legislation in the field of the fight against this phenomenon.
In a word for the occasion, Mr. Sada Umar Kelly, Secretary General of the Ministry of Justice stated that the Mauritanian government
has taken steps to fight against the phenomenon of terrorism through the implementation of legislation and mechanisms to cope audit
phenomenon while guaranteeing the basic rights of the accused in terrorism matters.
He added that the phenomenon of terrorism has no borders and threatens all societies without distinction, stating that such facts are that
it is the duty of all countries to fight and make it a priority.
For his part, Mr. Sylvain Fourcassié, Head of Cooperation and Cultural Action, Director of the French Institute of Mauritania said that
the fight against the terrorist threat is at the heart of all concern, noting that Mauritania demonstrated that it is a priority, through the
legislative which it is equipped, enabling the creation of a specialized court division.
He said that his division has a large number of active cases heard and equally large number of cases referred to the trial courts.
The opening ceremony was attended by the presence of the Secretary General of the Supreme Court.
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Mauritania celebrates the World Day of Human Rights
Mauritania has made strides in the field of human rights embodied in the settlement of liabilities and humanitarian efforts undertaken in
the framework of the fight against the effects of slavery. Thus substantial amounts were mobilized and many programs have been
This was said Monday commssaire to human rights, humanitarian action and relations with civil society, Mohamed Abdallahi Ould
Khattra during the commemoration of the day of human Rights.
The Commissioner, in a word spoken at the start of the events marking the day at the Palais des Congrès, added that in terms of
individual and collective freedoms rights of speech, expression and assembly were spent. He noted that these efforts were crowned by
the decision to decriminalize publication in addition to the liberalization of the audiovisual now entered into force with the authorization
granted to five radio stations and two television stations that operate in freedom and independence.
He said that politics in Mauritania has experienced a quantum leap after the constitutional reforms that reflects the results of the national
dialogue between the majority and some opposition parties, reforms that have included the criminalization of military coups and
qualification of slavery and torture as crimes against humanity.
The Commissioner for Human Rights has said that economic and social rights in the country also experienced a significant improvement
through attention to areas of health, education, vocational training, promotion and protection of the rights of women and children and the
In these efforts add the elimination of poor neighborhoods in the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou allowing citizens to have decent
housing after acquiring plots.
For her part, Ms. Coumba Mar Gadio UNDP Resident Representative has read the message from the Secretary General of the UN in
which he gave a presentation on the situation of human rights in the world and progress in this area past 100 years.
Marcel Akpovo, representing the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Mauritania gave a presentation at the same time
including the message from Ms. High Commissioner on this occasion.
In this message Madam High Commissioner stressed the importance of the protection and preservation of human rights in the world
within the role that people can play for these rights.
Take part in this one-day workshop organized in collaboration between the Commissioner for Human Rights, UNDP, and the Office of
the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nouakchott several representatives of national human rights .
Participants at this meeting, attended a conference on the theme: "the integration and participation in public life."
Note that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948.
The ceremony was attended by the ministers of justice, communication and relations with the parliament of Social Affairs, Children and
Family and the President of the National Commission of Human Rights.
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TRANSLATED FROM FRENCH BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE
Wednesday 12 December 2012 @ 8:42:45 p.m.
Contributed by: Anonymous
Release: Creating a National Network called "Together Against Torture in Mauritania"
Whereas Mauritania has ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT)
- Considering that the human person is inviolable. Every human being has the right to respect for his life and to physical and moral
integrity of his person. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of this right,
- And for reasons based on citizens Duty and the Law, a group of NGOs Mauritanian human rights has created a national network called
"Together against Torture in Mauritania." The overall objective is:
- Contribute to the fight against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, psychiatric internment for
political and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
The first organization of civil society in the prevention of Torture, has had the great honor of participating in the celebration in Mauritania
of the International Day of Human Rights organized by the National Commission on Human Rights in Mauritania from 10 to 11
The workshop reflections level was marked by Next Topic "Ending Torture"
The opportunity has turned into a source of knowledge and experience ownership on the mechanisms and strategies against torture
developed by experts in the field such as the CNDH Mauritania APT (Switzerland), the CNDH (Mali) , ACAT (France) and MDT
The National Network "Together against Torture in Mauritania" thank the National Commission on Human Rights in Mauritania for the
excellent initiative it has taken Mauritanian involving NGOs and international human rights activities devoted to the commemoration of the
International Day of Human Rights and magnifying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.
Our network makes a commitment to work with all the organizations defending human rights (National and International) are not
contrary to its objective and institutions of human rights and especially the CNDH Mauritania to end this master scourge in our country.
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Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz
President since 01 August 2009
Current situation: Mauritania is a source and destination country for children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation;
slavery-related practices, rooted in ancestral master-slave relationships, continue to exist in isolated parts of the country;
Mauritanian boys called talibe are trafficked within the country by religious teachers for forced begging; children are also trafficked
by street gangs within the country that force them to steal, beg, and sell drugs; girls are trafficked internally for domestic servitude
and sexual exploitation; women and children from neighboring states are trafficked into Mauritania for purposes of forced begging,
domestic servitude, and sexual exploitation
Tier rating: The Government of Mauritania does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and
is not making significant efforts to do so; the government did not show evidence of overall progress in prosecuting and punishing
trafficking offenders, protecting trafficking victims, and preventing new incidents of trafficking during the past year; progress that the
previous government demonstrated in 2007 through enactment of strengthened anti-slavery legislation and deepened political will to
eliminate slavery and trafficking has stalled; law enforcement efforts to address human trafficking including traditional slavery
practices decreased (2009)