Mauritania

UN expert on contemporary forms of slavery to visit Mauritania (29 April 2022)

GENEVA (29 April 2022) – The UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Tomoya Obokata, will conduct an official visit to Mauritania from 4 to 13 May 2022.

During the mission, the UN expert will examine questions relating to the persistence of descent-based slavery, as well as the social, economic and political situation of formerly enslaved people and those originating from slave castes. This will include evaluating measures to support their social and economic integration, and the legal system for formerly and currently enslaved people to seek justice. He will also investigate the existence of other forced labour practices, servile forms of marriage, and the worst forms of child labour.

The Sustainable Development Goals require States to: “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”

“By becoming a “Pathfinder” country under Alliance 8.7, Mauritania committed to accelerated action in this regard and I wish to assess what progress has been achieved in ending slavery in the country, what the remaining challenges are and what else is needed to end slavery in Mauritania once and for all,” Obokata said.

The Special Rapporteur will travel to Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, and will meet government officials, civil society groups, traditional and religious leaders, representatives of the UN system, international organisations and members of the diplomatic community.

Obokata will share his preliminary observations at a news conference on 13 May at the Monotel Hotel Dar el Barka, Zone des Ambassades, Nouakchott BP - 1366 at 10 A.M local time.

The Special Rapporteur will present a comprehensive report to the Human Rights Council in September 2023.

ENDS

Mr. Tomoya Obokata was appointed UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery in March 2020. Mr. Obokata is a Japanese scholar of international law and human rights, specialising in transnational organised crime, human trafficking and modern slavery. He currently serves as Professor of International Law and Human Rights at Keele University, and previously taught at Queen's University Belfast and Dundee University (all in the United Kingdom Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

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