Mauritania Rejects Recommendations to Protect Freedom of Expression, Journalists, and Human Rights Defenders

At a recent U.N.-level human rights review, Mauritania rejected recommendations by Member States on protecting the right to freedom of expression and creating an enabling environment, especially for journalists and human rights defenders.

Prior to Mauritania’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the U.N. Human Rights Council’s periodic review of Member States, the MFWA and other organisations submitted information and recommendations to be taken into consideration during the review. The information and recommendations by the MFWA were cited nine times by the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in OHCHR’s submission to the UPR process.

During the UPR, Mauritania accepted and rejected several human rights recommendations by Member States, some of which concerned free expression rights and issues. Of those, Mauritania accepted recommendations to end impunity for police and security forces’ excessive use of force; raise awareness about human rights; and increase anti-slavery campaigns. However, Mauritania rejected Belgium’s recommendation to explicitly “protect effectively freedom of expression of civil society, in particular for journalists and human rights defenders, so that they can carry out their activities freely without hindrance, intimidation, harassment, or risk of condemnation.”

The UPR of Mauritania took place on 3 November 2015. The MFWA’s factsheet, Freedom of Expression in Mauritania- Outcome of 2015 U.N. Human Rights Review summarizes the outcome of the UPR and includes recommendations for advocacy interventions to improve the situation of freedom of expression in Mauritania.

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