Mauritania’s leading opposition figure and anti-slavery activist denounces youth unemployment | ANG
  • July 25, 2024

UN says nearly 40 million people had HIV in 2023

Nearly 40 million people were living with the HIV virus that causes AIDS last year, over 9 million weren’t getting any treatment, and the result was that every minute someone died …

US elections: Could Kamala Harris be the first female president?

Already a trailblazer, Kamala Harris could be on the way to becoming the first woman to serve as president in the United States. Biden announced Sunday that he was stepping aside …

Sierra Leone court finds 11 involved in alleged coup guilty

A Sierra Leone court found 11 people guilty of treason and other offenses following what authorities have called an attempted coup, with their leader sentenced to almost 200 years in prison, …

Mauritanians head to the polls on Saturday in an election which shines a spotlight on the country’s deep divisions, as incumbent President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani seeks a second term amid a regional security crisis and ongoing allegations of human rights abuses taking place in the country.

Ghazouani, from an Arab Mauritanian family, is a former army chief who came to power in 2019 following the first democratic transition in the country’s history.

Last year, his El Insaf party scored a crushing victory in the legislative election, taking 107 of the 176 seats in the National Assembly.

Though Ghazouani is widely expected to win the election, his main opposition is Biram Dah Abeid, a Black anti-slavery activist who has accused him of gross mismanagement of the country. Abeid says Ghazouani has cultivated a culture of “corruption, the pillage of wealth, and repression of the population” ahead of his last campaign rally on Thursday.

“The population is hungry. The population is thirsty. Unemployment has ruined the youth. This is why the youth have emigrated in the thousands or tens of thousands,” he said.

Abeid says he is against the agreement Mauritania holds with the European Union to crack down on migration to Europe, calling it an agreement “that will serve neither the European Union, nor Mauritania.”

Mauritania’s agreement with the EU and similar agreements with North African countries have been criticized for alleged human rights abuses against migrants that have occurred under them.

Mauritania is no stranger to human rights abuse accusations, as it was the last country in the world to abolish slavery in 1981. But the practice continues, human rights groups said, with around 149,000 people in modern slavery in this nation of less than 5 million, according to the 2023 Global Slavery Index.

“Slavery is a central question in Mauritania,” Abeid said from his party headquarters in the capital Nouakchott.

“Given the status of slavery in society, the status of a slave, the status of a free man, and especially the status of the men who hold these slaves. It’s ingrained in Mauritanian values, which is why slavery continues to plague Mauritania in such a massive way,” he said.

Abeid himself is descended from slaves. His grandmother was a slave “until her death,” he said, and his father later married a slave and saw his wife and their two children sold before his eyes.

“My father was driven by the fight against slavery and he left this legacy. I promised him that I would fight against slavery all my life, and that is what I am doing,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *