Policy Recommendations to End Slavery in

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Policy Recommendations

The Abolition Institute and Anti-Slavery International urge the Government of Mauritania to:

  • Formally acknowledge the existence of slavery in Mauritania and make every effort to raise public awareness of slavery practices and the laws against them.

  • Equip the Tadamoun Agency, which has an anti-slavery mandate, with the resources and powers necessary to lead the actions recommended here.

  • Collect detailed data on the nature and incidence of slavery in Mauritania to allow monitoring of efforts to eradicate slavery.

  • Conduct nationwide training for police and administrative and judicial authorities on the new 2015 law to ensure that they pursue the cases of slavery brought to their attention efficiently and effectively.

  • Issue orders to the police and judiciary on the enforcement of national legislation prohibiting slavery, ensuring that those responsible for this practice are effectively investigated and prosecuted, receiving and serving sentences that are commensurate with the crime. Ensure crimes of gender-based violence are also investigated and prosecuted.

  • Train police, prosecutors, and judicial authorities in the handling of victims of slavery practices, especially on how to create a safe, supportive, and gender-sensitive environment for victims to seek legal services.

  • Allow the Initiative de Résurgence du Mouvement Abolitionniste en Mauritanie to legally register as an NGO.

  • Create a fund specific to slaves and former slaves to facilitate access to justice, legal empowerment and humanitarian relief (including emergency shelter and provisions for people escaping slavery).

  • Provide adequate compensation and reintegration support for victims of slavery practices, including through training and micro-credit.

  • Adopt policies to facilitate equal access to education and employment opportunities.

  • Combat discrimination based on descent or ethnicity in the education system, the media and government institutions, including through legal means and by establishing awareness raising campaigns to combat racist stereotypes.

  • Take steps to promote a higher representation of Haratine in the government, parliament and other public institutions.

The Abolition Institute and Anti-Slavery International urge the international community to:

  • Support the vital work of anti-slavery organizations (notably assisting victims, lobbying for legal reform and implementation and holding the government of Mauritania to account) by providing them with adequate funding, resources and platforms.

  • Ensure procedures for monitoring and evaluating implementation of international efforts to end slavery in Mauritania, such as the UN Road Map for the eradication of slavery.

  • Make partnerships with the Government of Mauritania conditional on the attainment of agreed milestones towards the eradication of slavery.

The Abolition Institute, located in Chicago, Illinois (USA) urges the Biden Administration to:

  • Create an inter-agency working group to conduct a full review of U.S. policy towards Mauritania.

  • Develop implementable diplomatic and economic strategies to reduce or eliminate chattel slavery in Mauritania, including a full list of verifiable steps to be taken by the Mauritanian regime such as fully empowering governmental anti-slavery agencies, fully enforcing existing anti-slavery laws and dramatically increasing the rate of slavery prosecutions.

  • Review all military and non-humanitarian aid to Mauritania and consider how potential future aid can be effectively conditioned on verifiable steps by the Mauritanian government to combat slavery.

  • Consider reinstatement of sanctions on the Mauritanian government if they fail to take substantive and verifiable steps to combat slavery.

The Abolition Institute urges the United States Congress to:

  • Fully implement and fund the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act sponsored by U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Senator Bob Corker which would increase funding and international collaboration on global anti-slavery efforts.

  • Hold hearings on slavery in Mauritania and/or include a significant section on Mauritanian chattel slavery in a future hearing on Trafficking in Persons

  • Request periodic reports from the Administration on the progress of both the U.S. – Mauritania policy review and the effectiveness of the policies it recommends once implemented

  • Work with the Administration to review all non-humanitarian aid to Mauritania and consider conditioning future aid on verifiable steps by the Mauritanian government to combat slavery.

Photos in Mauritania by Michael Hylton for Anti-Slavery International

Photos in Chicago by Jason Jones

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