WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) joined by House Foreign Affairs Committee Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Congressman Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Africa Subcommittee Members, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Congressman Ron Wright (R-Texas), and Congressman Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) wrote to Secretary Pompeo Thursday asking for an increased focus on longstanding human rights concerns in United States engagement with Mauritania.
The Members wrote: “While Mauritania remains an important partner in our fight against terrorism in the Sahel, we believe that it is critical to also keep human rights at the forefront of bilateral relationship. Specifically, impunity for racial discrimination, including ethnic cleansing; the suppression of political rights; and hereditary slavery and human trafficking constitute grave violations of human rights that the United States should work to remedy through our engagement with the country.”
Mauritania is widely regarded as a serial abuser of human rights. Mauritania has allowed for legal immunity for ethnic violence committed 1989-1991, while effectively revoking the citizenship of many of those displaced in the persecution. Further, Mauritania was the last country to outlaw slavery, and it still unofficially allows the odious practice in addition to abetting or allowing several other human rights abuses.