November 10, 2010
9th Session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group
UPR Session for Mauritania
Statement by the Delegation of the United States
UN Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland
– Check Against Delivery –
Thank you Mr. President:
The United States warmly welcomes and the Mauritanian delegation to the UPR Working Group. We commend Mauritania on the completion of its national report and presentation today, and would like to raise the following issues and recommendations.
The United States commends Mauritania for progress in aligning its national legislation with international human rights standards, through the passage of laws, and the ratification of several international and regional treaties.
Along with the Special Rapporteur on Slavery, we note that the government and, in particular, civil society organizations have started to take steps to combat slavery, such as the establishment of a program to assist former slaves. However, as noted in the OHCHR report, although Mauritania has banned slavery, no one has ever been convicted of the crime of slaveholding. In addition, a more holistic approach addressing all forms of discrimination together with poverty, at all levels of the society, is required to truly eliminate both traditional and modern forms of slavery. Does Mauritania plan to develop a national strategy on slavery as recommended by the Special Rapporteur?
The United States is also concerned with the prevalence of human trafficking, including men, women, and children, in Mauritania.
Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States would like to make the following recommendations:
1. We recommend that Mauritania develop a national strategy on slavery, including ways to reinforce and expand public awareness campaigns against traditional and modern forms of slavery. We also recommend Mauritania work toward strengthening law enforcement efforts to effectively implement its anti-slavery law.
2. Given the continued reports of human trafficking to, from, and within Mauritania for the purpose of forced labor and sexual exploitation, the United States recommends Mauritania intensify its law enforcement efforts against trafficking offenders, incorporate anti-trafficking training into its standard police curriculum, and ensure that legal aid and material assistance is made available to victims.
Thank you Mr. President