Slavery in Mauritania
Mauritania is one of 20+ nations that have volunteered to show the world that progress is possible in the global fight to end modern forms of slavery by stepping forward to become an Alliance 8.7 “Pathfinder Country” under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Mauritania’s president banned slavery nearly 40 years ago and the parliament enacted tough laws in 2007 and 2015. As well, the government has recently made wide-ranging international commitments as a U.N. Pathfinder.
But there are significant gaps between promise and practice. The nation’s law is rarely enforced and the human rights of marginalized groups and those facing racial discrimination are not respected. Journalists lack specialized training on modern slavery to effectively hold government officials accountable. The voices of civil society, minority groups and the disadvantaged are often absent or excluded. Access to legal support for victims and the vulnerable is lacking.
Our Solutions in Mauritania
In its first year, the Promoting the Rights of Mauritania’s Marginalized Communities program trained 40 journalists from television, radio, print bloggers, v-bloggers and other social media influencers how to report constructively and inclusively on the problem of modern slavery and actions taken by the government to enforce its law and fulfill its commitments. Fifteen human rights lawyers and a leading Mauritanian civil society organization with expertise on modern slavery, ALCD, Association de Lutte Contre la Dépendance (Association for the Fight Against Addiction), were trained on effective media relations skills, to foster visibility of minority voices and their struggle for justice.
The project is designed to build bridges between the enslaved and the media, promoting the democratizing influence of social inclusion for a neglected portion of the population. The program called attention to governmental shortcomings and showcased needed solutions. The project also created a model for engaging media as a strategy for combating human trafficking and promoting democratic change that can be replicated in other Pathfinder Countries facing similar governmental accountability challenges.
The program is expanding in its second and third years to train additional journalists and activists, to establish a network of paralegals who will assist members of socially marginalized communities, and to advocate for a new framework within the U.N. Pathfinder Country program that can exert international pressure on officials in Mauritania and all Pathfinders to be accountable for their commitments.
Our Partners in Mauritania
Free the Slaves collaborates with…