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New Report On Slavery In Mauritania - 2002-11-07

A new report from Amnesty International says “despite the legal abolition of slavery in Mauritania twenty years ago, the government is yet to take practical steps to ensure its abolition in practice.” The report was released on the eve of the 21st anniversary of the decree, which officially abolished slavery. It says human rights abuses continue to exist in Mauritania, “although the government denies its existence.”

The Amnesty report makes a number of recommendations. These include the government acknowledging that slavery “remains a problem.” It also calls on the government to establish an “independent and impartial” enquiry to investigate practices over the past twenty years.”

The human rights group also calls on the international community to “encourage the Mauritanian government to confront the issue openly.” It should also openly support the work of human rights organizations working on slavery and slavery-like practices.”

George Ngwa is Amnesty’s press officer for Africa. From London, he told VOA’s English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey why the report was released in Dakar and not in the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott. Click the above links to hear the Kotey interview.