World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


UN Expert Urges Mauritania To Turn Pledges Into Deeds

UN Rights Expert Urges Mauritania To Turn Pledges Into Deeds In The Fight Against Slavery


NOUAKCHOTT (27 February 2014) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on slavery, Gulnara Shahinian, today hailed Mauritania’s commitment and progress in the fight against slavery, but called on the authorities “to take more vigorous measures to eliminate slavery and to fully implement the laws and policies.”


Ms. Shahinian's call comes at the end of a follow-up official visit to the country to assess new developments and the initiatives taken by the Mauritanian authorities in response to her previous recommendations.


“I commend the Government of Mauritania for the measures taken since my last mission in 2009 and for its commitment to ending slavery in the country,” said the independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on the use of contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences in the world.


“However,” she stressed, “the Government still has to turn its pledges into deeds, and to take more vigorous measures with a view to eliminating slavery and to fully implement the laws and policies”.


“The passing of the law criminalizing slavery in 2007 had been a milestone for the eradication of slavery practices in Mauritania, but still needs to be fully implemented to result in concrete changes in practice,” she said. The expert reiterated her concerns at the very low number of prosecutions under the Act, and stressed the need to amend it in order to ensure better protection for victims recognized as slaves.


“The fact that slavery has now officially been designated a crime constitutes a major achievement in the fight against slavery,” Ms. Shahinian said. Under the constitutional reform introduced in 2012, persons convicted of slavery can be sentenced to up to ten years in prison.


The Special Rapporteur welcomed the recent announcement of the establishment of a special Tribunal to prosecute crimes of slavery: “I believe that the setting-up of the Tribunal will bring the Mauritania one step closer to effectively ending the practice of slavery and call on the Government to deploy all necessary efforts to making this a reality.”


Ms. Shahinian noted that a number of legislative efforts launched in 2011 towards securing the rights of housemaids and domestic workers are an important element in the fight against slavery, but highlighted that “concerted action is required to fully realize their human rights.”


“The adoption of the road map for the implementation of my previous recommendations is a clear sign that Mauritania is on its way to eradicate slavery and its remnants once and for all,” she said. “I am sure that the 6 of March 2014, when the Government will adopt formally the road map, this will mark a turning point in the fight against slavery in country.”


The human rights expert welcomed the setting-up of ‘Tadamoun,’ the government agency charged explicitly with helping former slaves in Mauritania. “This is an important step towards more holistic and sustained approach in addressing all forms of discrimination together with poverty at all levels of society, which is essential to eradicate the legacy of slavery,” she said.


However, the Special Rapporteur stressed the need to ensure targeted and tailored solutions for former slaves in order to avoid that the eradication of the vestiges of slavery become incorporated in more general programmes on poverty alleviation.


“A prerequisite for the efficiency of these programmes is reliable information which is currently lacking, and that is why an urgent need exists to provide detailed and precise data, statistics and a thorough study,” she noted.


The Special Rapporteur also stressed the need to publish the anti-slavery conventions it ratified in Mauritania’s Official Gazette as soon as possible also in order to raise awareness that all work should be entered into freely and respect the fundamental rights of the human person.


During her four-day visit to Nouakchott, Ms. Shahinian met with various Government authorities, international organizations as well as non-governmental organizations, trade unions, community members and others working in the area of combatting all forms of slavery.


“Civil society has a tremendously important role in eradicating slavery, raising awareness, collecting materials, bringing cases before the court and in assisting victims of slavery,” she underscored.


The Special Rapporteur will present her findings and recommendations at a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

As Health Needs Rise In Somalia, Funding Hits New Low

As health needs rise in Somalia, funding hits new low, cutting off 1.5 million from care – UN More>>

Need To End Violence Against Children In Conflict

‘We should be outraged’ more not being done to end violence against children in conflict – UNICEF chief More>>

On Mandela Day, UN Joins Call To Promote Community Service

Nelson Mandela, then Deputy President of the African National Congress of South Africa, raises his fist in the air while addressing the Special Committee Against Apartheid in the General Assembly Hall. UN Photo/P. Sudhakaran More>>

Some $3.2 Billion Needed For Ebola Recovery Efforts

Some $3.2 billion needed for Ebola recovery efforts in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – UN More>>

World Day: UN Spotlights Plight Of Vulnerable Populalations

Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting near the Syrian city of Kobani wait in a holding area before boarding buses in Turkey (September 2014). Photo: UNHCR /I. Prickett More>>

Afghanisatan: Direct Talks Between Government And Taliban

The United Nations Security Council has welcomed the recently held direct talks between Afghan Government and Taliban representatives as a step towards “peace and reconciliation” in the region. More>>

Eradicating World Hunger By 2030

Agriculture workers collect carrots on a farm in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: World Bank/Maria Fleischmann More>>

Bangladesh: Flood Leads To UN Agency Providing Food Relief

Anwar Hossain unloads cartons of High Energy Biscuits from a pickup truck and transfers them to a distribution center in Kawar Khop union, Ramu upazila, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: WFP/Kamrul Mithon More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news