Launching a 10-day visit to the country, today the UN Special Rapporteur on Slavery, Tomoya Obokata, met with Mauritania’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Cheikh Ahmedou Ould Ahmed Salem Ould Sidi, along with cabinet ministers and other top officials.
GENEVA, May 4, 2022 — The independent non-governmental human rights group UN Watch today called on U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield to move for the suspension of Mauritania from the 47-nation Human Rights Council until the world body certifies that the government has completely eradicated slavery.
Today’s appeal comes as the UN special rapporteur on slavery, Tomoya Obokata, launched a 10-day visit to Mauritania to “examine questions relating to the persistence of descent-based slavery” and “the situation of formerly enslaved people and those originating from slave castes.”
According to estimates by CNN and The Guardian, up to 500,000 people in Mauritania are subjected to slavery.
A new UN report released last week confirmed that Mauritania has failed to take numerous needed measures to eradicate slavery.
“We welcome today’s visit to Mauritania by the United Nations monitor on slavery,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “The need for his mission is a stark reminder to the world that a racist regime that enslaves tens of thousands of black people has no place on any council for human rights.”
“We are calling on U.S. Ambassador Thomas-Greeenfield to make the case to the United Nations that slave-holding Mauritania should not have a position of authority in a body whose purpose is to promote respect for human rights.”
“This the height of hypocrisy, and it is dangerous. Mauritania’s regime uses its membership on the Human Rights Council as a platform for propaganda to suggest it has a legitimate concern for human rights.”
“The UN always says that it condemn racism. Now is the time to match those words with action by removing this racist and slave-holding regime from the world’s top human rights body.”
“Confronting racism is the UN’s charge. It is the responsibility of UN leaders and leaders around the world.”
“Mauritania’s participation on the Human Rights Council hurts the council’s credibility. It undermines the entire UN, and it is just plain wrong. The UN must do what it right, and do right by the men, women and children of Mauritania who are being treated as chattel.”
UN Watch, the Geneva-based human rights organization, has been a leading voice at the United Nations to end slavery in Mauritania and hold the regime accountable, bringing top Mauritanian dissidents and anti-slavery activists to testify, and opposing the absurd election of the racist and slave-holding regime to top UN human rights posts.