Press release August 13, 2015
Mauritania Toughens Anti-Slavery Laws
Expanding the definition of and increasing the penalties for acts of slavery is a major achievement by the Mauritanian government and a step toward eliminating the pervasive practice.
In response to Mauritania strengthening its anti-slavery laws, Freedom House released the following statement:
"Expanding the definition of and increasing the penalties for acts of slavery is a major achievement by the Mauritanian government and a step toward eliminating the pervasive practice," said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. "However, since Mauritania criminalized slavery in 2007, the government has failed to apply the law or adequately support the special tribunal dedicated to slavery prosecutions. While this new law is a position development, the government should ensure that these measures are enforced, prioritize protection for victims and commit to citizen education regarding these reforms and their rights under the law."
Mauritania officially abolished slavery in 1981, criminalized it in 2007, and designated it a crime against humanity under the 2012 constitutional reform. There has been only one prosecution since 2007, demonstrating that Mauritania still has a long way to go in its fight against slavery. Mauritania is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015 and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2015.