Amnesty International together with other local human rights organizations in Mauritania is calling on all the candidates to come out for this month’s presidential elections to sign a manifesto that consists of various programs to promote and protect human rights. Mauritanians want a president who will be able to urgently tackle the country’s poor human rights record by taking a tougher stance against slavery, human trafficking and attacks on the rights to freedom of expression.
For a long time now the human rights situation has been poor in Mauritania. Activists or anyone who tries to stand against slavery, discrimination or any other human right violation is at risk of unlawful detention and torture. Therefore it the wish of Mauritanians to have a president who will take the issue of human rights violation seriously, and strive to ensure justice and effective remedies for the citizens whose rights have been trampled upon for a very long time.
Up to date they’re many people living in slavery while others are being discriminated against in multiple ways such as being denied a chance to access justice. Numerous complaints are reported to the anti-slavery courts and the police force, but there is a deliberate tactic of keeping the victims waiting for a long time which ends up discouraging them. The manifesto calls for a public commitment to end slavery, discriminatory practices, and human trafficking. To achieve this there must be an implementation of new laws and policies to combat human rights violation practices.
By signing the manifesto candidates commit to ensuring the independence of the judiciary through a revision of the constitution so that the president will no longer have power over the high council of the judiciary. The manifesto promises the revoke of laws criminalizing activities such as the right to freedom of expression. Specific measures will also be taken to ensure full implementation and enjoyment of economic, social, and cultural rights to all, such as having a discussion between the new president and the local communities to review land ownership.
Therefore it’s up to all Mauritanian candidates to publicly commit to signing the manifesto and putting human rights first. By doing this they will ensure that the future president breaks with decades of gross human rights violations by carrying out reforms and adopting practices that ensure human rights are fully respected.