The North Africa Focal Point of the Steering Committee of the NGO Forum, Nahi Moulay Lahsen, has decried the deterioration of human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, blaming the authorities for mounting repressive measures against human rights defenders (HRDs)
“Security forces continue to intimidate and attack bloggers, HRDs and other activists who criticise the government,” he said on Saturday while giving an overview of the overall human rights situation in Northern Africa at the just concluded NGO Forum held from October 20-22 at Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi, some 8 km away from the capital city Banjul.
Over these past decades, Mauritania has gone through some political turbulences that continue to haunt the country’s authorities. However, the just concluded parliamentary elections have shown that the North African nation has the ability to emerge from the shadows of dictatorship and chart a way forward.
Lahsen further stated that prisoners of conscience are behind bars in Mauritania, including some anti-slavery activists.
Weighing in on the human rights situation prevailing in the region, Naji Moulay Lahsen made it clear that human rights and democracy are still at risk in North Africa.
“Governmemts are good at enacting laws dealing with human rights issues, but they all fail when it comes to implementing these legislations,” he deplored.
Reacting to the statement made by Lahsen, some Mauritanian activists, who spoke to this reporter, rubbished the allegations leveled against their government, saying there is no prisoner of conscience currently behind bars.
“There was a civil case between an anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Ebeidi and one Mauritanian journalist. Ebeidi refused to comply with a court injunction, urging him to apologize to the journalist. That is why he is still in custody of the State,” said Halima Ahmed Faleb who is the President of a local NGO, Association pour l’Education et la Santé de la Femme et de l’Enfant [Association for the Education and Health of Women and Children].
She said that Ebeidi was allowed to vie for a parliamentary seat during the recent elections while still being detained. “His supporters succeeded in securing a seat for him in the new Parliament. I believe if he apologizes to the complainant, he will be released ispso facto.”