A Mauritanian human rights committee, after a three-year delay, finally has been able to report on the progress in the fight against slavery, female genital mutilation (FGM) and racial discrimination in the country. While the Committee mapped grave problems, authorities in Mauritania keep denying there are any matters of concern.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has congratulated Mauritania for becoming the first country in North Africa to adopt a national refugee law. In a letter sent to the Mauritanian President, Maaouye Ould Sidi Ahmed Taya, High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers said the law would "pave the way for the establishment of a national legal framework for the protection of refugees and returnees, and national asylum structures that can assume responsibility for managing refugee affairs in more

The government of Mauritania has accused Libya and Burkina Faso of backing an attempt to topple President Maaouiya Ould Taya earlier this month and has announced the arrest of 31 military officers in connection with the alleged putsch. The first news of a fresh attempt to topple Ould Taya emerged on August 9, when military and political sources reported a new wave of arrests within the armed forces.

Mauritania has foiled a plot to overthrow the country's president, its defence minister has said. Between 20 and 30 members of the army are reported to have been arrested for the alleged coup attempt. Defence Minister Baba Ould Sidi said the plotters were "the very same people who led the aborted putsch in June last year".

In the course of the discussion, which was held over two meetings, the issues of slavery and slavery-like practices, political parties, human trafficking, refugees and displaced persons, the status of women, education and the State party's national human rights plan were raised among other subjects.