Mauritania: A Future Free From Slavery

Despite the legal abolition of slavery in Mauritania twenty years ago, the government is yet to take practical steps ensure its abolition in practice, Amnesty International said today in its report Mauritania: a future free from slavery.

The report, published on the eve of the 21st anniversary of the decree which officially abolished slavery, shows that human rights abuses related to slavery persist in Mauritania, although the government denies their existence.

"The Mauritanian government must stop violating its own laws and urgently end slavery, which is an abominable attack on human dignity and freedom," Amnesty International said.

Mauritanian laws and international human rights obligations prohibit slavery, but anyone escaping slavery has no legal protection. There is considerable discrimination against former slaves. No government official is willing to take the necessary remedial action to fully eradicate slavery and put an end to impunity for the perpetrators.

In 2001,17-year-old M'bareck ould Bilal ould Bra