Mauritania: Crack down on land reform activists

| December 22, 2014

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The recent arrest of a group of prominent anti-slavery activists highlights Mauritania’s struggle with slavery and discrimination based on colour.

Mauritanian authorities arrested several veteran activists near the city of Rosso, on the Senegalese border. The activists have been holding public meetings and rallies to raise awareness about the need for land reform to benefit former slaves.

People descended from slaves are often the victims of discrimination in Mauritania, and have difficulty gaining access to land. The Global Slavery Index states that 155,600 people, or four percent of the population of Mauritania, still live in slavery.

Many in the country are tired of discrimination against black Mauritanians. Aliou Diarra is a student at the University of Nouakchott. He says: “These endless violent repressions are useless … there is nothing the authorities can do to stem the tide of our quest for equality.”

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