A Nouakchott court on Sunday (16 January) sentenced Oumoulmoumnine Mint Bakar Vall to six months in prison for enslaving two girls, ages 10 and 14, in the city's Arafat neighbourhood. Last week, three human rights activists were handed down six month sentences for taking part in an unauthorised rally over the case. The verdict against the rights defenders, including Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) head Biram Ould Dah Ould Abeid, was based on charges of more

Six anti-slavery activists are in prison in Mauritania in a case rights experts say points to the challenges of ensuring a 2007 law criminalising slavery is more than just words on paper. The six men, members of the Mauritanian anti-slavery group Initiative pour la résurgence du mouvement abolitioniste (IRA), are set to go on trial in the capital, Nouakchott, on 5 January after two postponements. The authorities reportedly said the IRA members attacked security forces; the activists said more

Mauritanian newspapers this week devoted a large part of their analysis and comments to President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz's offer of dialogue to the opposition during the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence. In its Wednesday 1 December edition, 'Le Quotidien de Nouakchott' asked if the Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD), which brings together nine political parties, has swallowed the precondition of the points included in the Dakar agreement. The Dakar agreement led to more

After nearly a year the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Senegal and Mauritania have resumed the repatriation of Mauritanians to a country they call "home" but for now represents mostly uncertainty. Resuming on 18 October, weekly UNHCR convoys are expected to bring some 2,500 people back to Mauritania by the end of the year. The returnees are Mauritanians who have lived in Senegal since 1989, when ethnic clashes forced out tens of thousands.

This year's rainy season in Mauritania damaged critical infrastructure and displaced hundreds of families, but it may have alleviated the threat of famine facing other countries in the Sahel. The considerable rainfall has led to widespread damage and cut the main routes linking the capital, Nouakchott, to the rest of the towns and cities in the country's interior.