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International Human Rights Day celebrated in Mauritania – Thaqafa

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International Human Rights Day celebrated in Mauritania – Thaqafa

The Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) celebrated on December 10, 2023 at a conference, the 75th International Human Rights Day, created in 1948 in Paris. This day is the origin of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which inspires many of the world‘s constitutions. The opportunity for the speakers to return to the chosen theme: “Mauritania, governance of impunity for crimes against humanity”.

Mohamed MBoukhoukha (advisor to the president of the IRA) reading the press release – Crédit Aïdara

Personalities mobilized to celebrate this Day

The conference room of the Azalaï hotel in Nouakchott was full of people this afternoon of December 10, 2023, International Human Rights Day, celebrated with emphasis by the abolitionist movement IRA Mauritania. Several political leaders and members of civil society were present, including Samba Thiam, president of the Progressive Forces for Change (FPC) and Cheikh Haidara, representative of the Coalition for Living Together (CVE).

This day was marked by the welcome speech given by the vice-president of the IRA, Kadiata Bâ, in the absence of the leader of the movement Birame Dah Abeid on tour in Europe. In her intervention, she noted the total non-existence of human rights in Mauritania.

For his part, Abdallahi Abou Diop, president of the human rights section within the IRA movement, drew the parallel between l’article 1 of the UDHR “all men are born free and equal in rights and dignity” and the reality of this article in practice in Mauritania. According to him, although this article appears in the preamble to the Constitution, this is not the case in practice.

Part of the public in the foreground, deputies Marième and Ghamou – Credit Aïdara

According to him, the same goes for the rest of the articles of the UDHR, in particular article 2 “everyone can avail themselves of all rights and all freedoms without any distinction”, article 3 “every individual has the right to life, liberty and security of person” and article 4 “no one shall be held in slavery or servitude”.

Samba Thiam also made a statement in which he welcomed the massive presence of women from all communities, emphasizing that “ this presence augurs a promising future for the fight against the violation of human rights in Mauritania”. The president of the FPC also regretted the absence of the National Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Office for Human Rights at this meeting. According to him, “this absence calls into question the credibility and neutrality of these two institutions ».

Participants subsequently received a press release from the IRA movement on the occasion of the day, followed by a panel on human rights in Mauritania.

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IRA press release

Mauritania 2023: The 10 plagues of December 10

Like the freedom-loving multitudes, Iraq is celebrating World Human Rights Day on December 10, 2023. The opportunity to share, with public opinion, the Mauritanian record in this area, justifies a commemoration worthy of the challenge. The heaviness and age of the dispute require an observation devoid of complacency. If we must rejoice at the legal arsenal and the courts set up to penalize crimes of slavery, we note, however, that no criminal has been imprisoned; laundering such serious and anachronistic offenses remains the authorities’ only option. Moreover, the sponsors and perpetrators of killings and ethnically targeted deportations continue to enjoy immunity, while the number of those responsible for torture continues to grow from one year to the next.

Excerpts from the Koran read during the opening – Credit Aïdara

To cite only recent examples, we will remember Souvi Jibril Soumaré, known as Ould Cheïne, murdered on February 9, 2023 at the Dar Naim police station (South Nouakchott). The torturers first tried to exonerate themselves from the lethal crime, before retracting under pressure from the street. The judicial police officer and the executioners under his command were arrested and subjected to a judicial investigation; nevertheless, the results are slow. A few months later, on May 29, 2023, in Sebkha (west Nouakchott), inside a police building and in identical circumstances, the death of Oumar Diop, native of MBagne (south), occurred. Faced with the blatant abuse, anger has taken hold of part of urban youth, further weakening the cohesion of society. Hundreds of adolescents, of sub-Saharan descent, will be hunted down and tortured, sometimes at home, then detained for 72 hours. Here too, the official version concluded that he died of cardiac arrest at the National Hospital. However, the medical staff certifies having received, in the emergency room, a lifeless body. A dark autopsy, carried out in Morocco, will corroborate the truncated story. Moreover, and to this day, the Facebook site of the security directorate continues to display the thesis of two accidents, even though the Prosecutor’s Office recognized the violent nature of the first homicide and ordered the imprisonment of the persecutors. Because of the weight of impunity and the herd reflexes of mediocracy, the communication of the bodies responsible for maintaining peace follows a specific course, which characterizes autonomy towards other segments of the State. The rule of law which appears is opposed by the state of exception which prevails; beneath the façade of slogans and the false zeal to sign and ratify international conventions, the familiar monster of fraud, doublespeak and false pretenses watches and reproduces. The varnish is so thin. If Janus had to choose a passport, he would enlist in Mauritania. Following the revolt against the recurrence and trivialization of racist brutality, the government, taken by surprise, hastened to suspend access to the Internet for a few days. This is a deliberate breach of the basic integrity of the person, behind which there is always the desire to repress in silence, out of sight. Worse, during the protests in Boghé (south), Mohamed Lemine Alioune N’Daiye, born in 1996, was shot dead with a targeted shot. Following well-established jurisprudence in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the drawer and the order giver remain protected from the slightest sanction. Their identity is a secret.

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Part of the public – Crédit Aïdara

Almost all of the non-violent demonstrations of the Ira provoke, from the anti-riot units, an outburst of assault and battery, of disproportionate intensity. Many of our activists bear the stigma and after-effects of mistreatment; they bear witness to this without respite or exaggeration, with supporting photos and video. Attacks on the dignity of the individual and the enjoyment of his civil rights have not spared deputies, such as the honorable Biram Dah Abeid, sequestered several times, kept in preventive detention or sentenced to penalties relating to the offense of opinion. The promulgation of standards on cybercrime or restrictions relating to the preservation of “symbols” narrows the very limited space for freedom of expression and association. We will also note, by way of illustration, the extradition – from Dakar – and the imprisonment of Youba Siby, an Ira sympathizer, although of Senegalese nationality. Tried in express appearance, he will receive 4 years of imprisonment. The expeditious court accused him of comments condemning racism and birth inequalities. The hearing took place on the sly, without even a court-appointed lawyer, nor the presence of the family. The pseudo-national commission on human rights (Cndh) tried to have the regularity of the procedure endorsed by the representative accredited in Nouakchott of the United Nations High Commission.

Samba Thiam during his speech, surrounded by Kadiata Ba and Abdallahi Abou Diop – Credita Aïdara

At the end of 2023, the most representative parties of the indigenous peoples of Mauritania are demanding participation in the democracy of which the status quo deprives them. It is worth highlighting, in particular, the case of the Radical for Global Action (Rag) and Progressive Forces for Change (Fpc) parties. Populations dominated and discriminated against for the ulterior motives of color, language, culture and genealogy are unable to obtain biometric civil status documents, an access point to voting. The survivors and heirs of the thousands of fellow citizens deported or executed from 1986 to 1991 can no longer denounce, in public meetings, the amnesty law which absolves those responsible for such cruelties. A multitude of them, refugees in neighboring Senegal and Mali, continue to survive in precariousness and the bite of exile. The ministries in charge of the dispute and its settlement refuse them organized repatriation. Stateless, from parent to offspring, they scour hostile regions in search of shelter and shelter. Anyone who protests or proclaims solidarity with them finds themselves suspected of racism. In Mauritania, the racist is never the killer. Despite the rhetorical availability of power to protect, women and girls, against the secular excesses of patriarchy, the habit of duplicity in the face of external partners, recalls this mania of the dictatorship of the military, which consists of serving a discourse and its contrary, depending on the financial capacity of the interlocutor. Better yet, the draft text, passed under the censorship of the High Council of Fatwa and Graceful Appeals, was lost in the twists and turns of the bureaucracy. The famous body for monitoring religious conformity is placed above the Constitutional Council and the holders of popular sovereignty. Ironically, its members are not elected. Finally, for weeks, Parliament, although under the influence of obscurantist circles, has been waiting for the first reading of the document.

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Massive presence of women – Credit Aïdara

The height of horror, article 306 of the penal code, in its 2018 version, extends physical liquidation to moral offenses, such as refusal to pray, blasphemy, and apostasy. When it removes the ability to repent, it makes Mauritania the only country in Africa whose legal system sanctions the imitation of Daesh; far more than Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Brunei and the Maldives, combined, we have premeditatedly trapped ourselves. Certainly, the State does not apply the prescriptions thus claimed but, by maintaining them in the corpus of laws, it grants, to the enlightened apprentices of tomorrow, a formidable tool of savagery and sexism. “To govern is to plan, and to do nothing is to risk ruin,” warned the French journalist Emile Girardin as early as 1852…

Nouakchott, December 10, 2023

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