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Advance questions and statement to Mauritania

Advance questions:

  1. Mauritania approved a new anti-slavery law in August 2015. Despite the national and international legal instruments intended to eradicate slavery the practice has continued. Could the government of Mauritania elaborate on how the law and the new road map, developed by the government in cooperation with the OHCHR, will be implemented?
  2. What measures will the government take to ensure a safe environment for human rights activists and safeguard freedom of expression, given the reports on the arrest of several activists in the beginning of 2015.
  3. Could the government of Mauritania elaborate on the measures taken to ensure the rights of women, the implementation of existing legal frameworks and more specifically on the process of developing a “violence against women law”.
  4. Is the Government of Mauritania considering to establish a de jure moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty and to formally commute all death sentences?

Statement:

Mr. President,

Norway welcomes the delegation of Mauritania. We appreciate the role of Mauritania in the Human Rights Council and as vice president of the Council in 2013.

We recognize the challenges of widespread poverty in Mauritania, and underline the importance of continued sustainable development for the further protection of human rights. We acknowledge Mauritania’s efforts to adopt and ratify UN human rights conventions, including the OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment). We recommend that Mauritania continues to strengthen its cooperation with the UN treaty bodies. Cooperation with the OHCHR is also key to support national reforms.

Despite efforts made we note a lack of implementation of existing legal frameworks. We encourage the government to strengthen its efforts to promote a human rights culture throughout the country and to enhance the capacities of the National Human Rights Commission. We are concerned about reports of arrests of activists and human rights defenders. We urge the government to ensure fundamental rights such as freedom of assembly and freedom of expression.

While acknowledging the establishment of the Agence Tadamoun to help eradicate slavery, we have concerns about the reported ongoing practices.  We recommend that the government implements the anti-slavery law without delay and prosecute perpetrators.

We acknowledge the establishment of national strategy for gender mainstreaming and the action plan on gender based violence. Norway recommends Mauritania to improve the implementation of the legal framework regarding women’s rights and to finalise a violence against women law.

Finally, we recommend to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.

Thank you