U.S. Statement at the UPR of Mauritania

23rd Session, November 3, 2015
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper

The United States greatly values our friendship and partnership with the Mauritanian people.

We commend Mauritania’s efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism and promote regional security.

We encourage Mauritania to continue including civil society into security discussions, focusing on viable alternatives to violent extremism for youth.

We welcome the steps Mauritania has taken to eradicate slavery, including the August 2015 anti-slavery law.  We look forward to its vigorous and thorough enforcement.

However, we remain deeply troubled that individuals in Mauritania continue to be enslaved and that the government has failed to acknowledge and effectively prosecute cases under Mauritania’s anti-slavery laws.

We are concerned about the protection of civil society organizations that champion the anti-slavery movement and related issues in Mauritania. We are also concerned about these organizations’ rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which are the means to advocate for their causes peacefully and openly, without fear of government reprisal.

We recommend that the government:

  1. Prosecute slaveholders and find means for those who were enslaved to obtain compensation;
  2. Fully implement the National Roadmap to Combat the Vestiges of Slavery;
  3. Establish clear legal protections for human rights defenders and civil society organizations and abide by them.