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Press briefing note on Mauritania

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:  Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva 
Date: 8 November 2019
Subject:  Mauritania

Mauritania

We welcome the conviction and sentencing of a 30-year-old Mauritanian man for having raped a 15-year-old girl in Kaedi, in Southern Mauritania. The man was sentenced to five years in prison. This is an encouraging step for a country where gender-based violence, and specifically rape, has in the past gone unpunished in almost all cases. We call on the Government of Mauritania to ensure gender-sensitive and age-sensitive reparations for the victim, including compensation.

Mauritania does not have a law to prevent gender-based violence. On two occasions, a draft law presented to the Parliament has been rejected. We urge the Mauritanian Parliament to urgently relaunch the discussion on the draft bill and to adopt as soon as possible legislation that complies with human rights standards, including a clear definition of rape and other forms of sexual violence.

We also call on the Government to take all necessary measures to advance the legislation and, once enacted, to implement a comprehensive, well-resourced plan of action to tackle a serious and widespread problem in Mauritania.

In this context, we would like to highlight that this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence focuses on rape. The campaigns, which is a grassroots initiative supported by the UN, runs from 25 November, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day.

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville - + 41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.orgor Ravina Shamdasani - 41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org or Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / mhurtado@ohchr.org

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