GENEVA, March 16, 2016 – Prominent Mauritanian anti-slavery activist Abidine Merzough spoke today at the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of UN Watch. He shone a much-needed spotlight on the human rights situation in his native Mauritania, the world’s last bastion of slavery, as the Council decided on the adoption of that country’s UPR report.
Click here for his full statement (in French)
After hearing the remarks made by Mr. Merzough, Mauritania responded to UN Watch with the following statement:
Before switching to Arabic, I’d like to make a few comments and observations on statements made by states and NGOs.
First of all I would say that regarding the death penalty — our country, as you know Mr president, has had a de facto moratorium since 1985. No capital punishment sentence has been carried out since that date.
I’d like to also talk about the fact that slavery has been abolished in Mauritania. Slavery is essentially a crime against humanity. So I don’t know why there are people who continue to think that the phenomenon persists. As you know, our government is working very closely with the Office of the High Commissioner to implement the road map of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery. So, to sum up, the fight against slavery is well underway. I’d like to confirm our determination to eradicate the vestiges of this social phenomenon.