The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
The other one-percent: Mauritania slammed for laxity on slavery Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

The other one-percent: Mauritania slammed for laxity on slavery

The African Union said Mauritania must do more to defeat slavery [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 26 January, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
The African Union slammed Mauritania after a slave owner was sentenced to just two years in prison, in a country where 1 in 100 are still slaves

Mauritania was urged to crack down on slavery after laxed sentences were handed to a family of slave owners in a milestone conviction.

The African Union criticised Mauritania after a slave owner was sentenced to just two years in prison, despite the fact that slave owners by Mauritanian law must be sentenced between five to ten years in prison.

The 2011 case was Mauritania’s first ever prosecution for slavery. Mauritania was the world’s last country to abolish slavery in 1981.

One in 100 people in Mauritania still living as slaves making it among countries with the highest rates of slavery, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index.

Said Ould Salem and his brother Yarg were born into slavery in the northwestern African nation and a wealthy family forced them to work every day.

Mauritania must “give due regard to the issue of slavery and make the elimination... one of its priorities,” the African Union urged.

The continental body also suggested that Said and Yarg, who have entered their teenage years receive psychosocial support, schooling and reparations according to Reuters.

“This verdict puts a lot of pressure on Mauritania to take slavery seriously,” said Jakub Sobik, a spokesman for Anti-Slavery International.

In 2015, a new law doubled the prison term for slave owners to 20 years, but in its second prosecution a year later Mauritania sentenced two owners to five years in prison.

“The problem is that there is a law criminalising slavery, but it’s not respected,” said Lucy Claridge, legal director for Minority Rights Group International, which helped bring Said and Yarg’s case to the African Union.

Last year an anti-slavery blogger  in the country sentenced to death for "blasphemy" was released by an appeals court, after a case that has drawn protests from rights watchdogs.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More