Despite the legal abolition of slavery in Mauritania twenty years ago, the government is yet to take practical steps ensure its abolition in practice, Amnesty International says in a report: 'Mauritania: a future free from slavery'. The report, published on the eve of the 21st anniversary of the decree which officially abolished slavery, shows that human rights abuses related to slavery persist in Mauritania, although the government denies their existence.

While the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM) could be assumed to be making some headway in Africa, a unique case of the practice in Mauritania is of great concern. A study carried out recently on this female rite in that country reveals stunning facts about the communities' interpretation of the practice. Even more alarming is that the majority population, composed of four ethnic groups, undergo this practise.

The International Press Institute (IPI), the global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, has strongly condemned the seizure of issue number 219 of El Qalem, an Arabic-language weekly newspaper.

The African Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday approved debt relief amounting to US $86.7 million for Burkina Faso and US $72.80 million for Mauritania. The bank said this would reduce their annual debt service obligations to the ADB by up to 80 percent, leaving them more resources for poverty reduction.

The latest issue of the weekly newspaper "La Tribune" has been banned, apparently because it contained criticism of recent government efforts to interfere with the election of the president of the national bar association.