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"United Arab Emirates
Honor 2006"

MAURITANIA Map Geography People Economy Military LoC Country Study
Despite legal ban in 1980, slavery persists
The law outlawing slavery says that slaves can be freed only if their master receives compensation
''Slave' Party banned - State sponsored repression of black Africans
Female genital mutilation
Girls being force-fed for marriage on fattening farms
Arab Mauritania occupied Saharawi Arab Republic from 1976-1979
Saharawi Arabs languish for decades in world's worst refugee camps

Compare Freedom Score of Mauritania (Partly Free) and Israel (Free)
Source: Freedom House
(PDF, 187 KB)

Compare Human Development Index of Mauritania (0.454) and Israel (0.905) (PDF, 670 KB)
Source: United Nations Human Development Report 2003

Compare Corruption Index of Mauritania (1.7), Israel (7.3), Germany (7.3) and USA (7.7) Source: Transparency International (PDF, 1.8 MB)

Mauritania's Campaign of Terror: State-Sponsored Repression of Black Africans: " Since 1989, tens of thousands of black Mauritanians have been forcibly expelled and hundreds more have been tortured or killed. An undeclared military occupation of the Senegal River Valley — where many of the blacks live — subjects those who remain to harsh repression. The campaign to eliminate black culture in Mauritania, orchestrated by the white Moor rulers, peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s and continues today. Mauritania's Campaign of Terror documents the range of human rights abuses that the black Africans have suffered in Mauritania. It shows that the most egregious violations — such as massacres, torture, and slavery — have been accompanied by more insidious forms of de facto discrimination against the black Africans, aimed at ensuring their marginalization from the rest of society and depriving them of their fundamental human rights."

'Slave party' banned in Mauritania (BBC, Jan 3, 2002): "Mauritania's Government has ordered the dissolution of an opposition party which campaigns for greater rights for blacks and the descendents of slaves. The party, Action for Change (AC), is considered radical in a country where political power has always been held by Arabs and Berbers."

Despite Legal Ban, Slavery Persists in Mauritania. Workers Chained by Caste, Economy In Impoverished West African Nation (Douglas Farah, Washington Post, Oct 21, 2001): "Slavery ... was outlawed only in 1980, making the country one of the last in the world to ban the practice. ... the law outlawing slavery says that slaves can be freed only if their master receives 'compensation'. ... women who are forced to leave their children behind as the property of their former owner."

SOS Slaves website (Sep 15, 2003): "Founded in 1995, SOS Slaves is a human rights organization dedicated to eradicating chattel slavery in Mauritania. ... the Mauritanian government banned SOS Slaves and arrested several of its leaders. ... Slavery has been a part of Mauritanian society for centuries. Over 800 years ago, Arab and Berber tribes descended from the Mediterranean peninsula and launched slave raids against the indigenous African population, abducting women and children as slaves. Those enslaved were converted to Islam and raised to believe that their religious duty was to serve their masters faithfully. The relationship of master (bidanes) and slave (haratines) continues to this day, with thousands of haratines families owned as inheritable property by bidanes and denied basic human rights by Mauritania's Islamic courts."

Female Genital Mutilation, Somalia (WHO - World Health Organization, p. 154) (PDF, 672 KB):
25% of Mauritanian women [= 750,000] have undergone Female Genital Mutilation

Pictures of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), 2002
(These pictures are not suitable for children. They are extremely disturbing!!!)

The World Medical Association Statement on Female Genital Mutilation, Oct 1993: “The World Medical Association condemns the practice of genital mutilation including circumcision where women and girls are concerned and condemns the participation of physicians in the execution of such practices.”

Policy Statement | Female Genital Mutilation (American Academy of Pediatrics, PEDIATRICS Vol. 102 No. 1 Jul 1998, pp. 153-156): “... pediatricians and pediatric surgical specialists should be aware that this practice [FGM] has serious, life-threatening health risks for children and women. The AAP opposes all forms of FGM …” [Disturbing graphical descriptions included]

Library of Congress's Country Studies (Mauritania)

CIA World Factbook (Western Sahara): "Morocco virtually annexed Western Sahara in 1976, and the rest of the territory in 1979. Part of the people of Western Sahara live as refugees for decades. A referendum on final status has been repeatedly postponed. The territory is contested by Morocco and Polisario Front (Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro), which in February 1976 formally proclaimed a government-in-exile of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR); territory partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania in April 1976, with Morocco acquiring northern two-thirds; Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979; Morocco moved to occupy that sector shortly thereafter and has since asserted administrative control; the Polisario's government-in-exile was seated as an OAU member in 1984; guerrilla activities continued sporadically, until a UN-monitored cease-fire was implemented 6 September 1991"
CIA World Factbook (Mauritania)

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