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OHCHR in Mauritania


The Office in Mauritania has a broad mandate through which it can provide technical assistance to all stakeholders and conduct monitoring of human rights violations throughout the country. It has unrestricted access to places of detention. The current thematic priorities focus on non-discrimination, including slavery, the rights of women and girls with a focus on GBV, economic, social and cultural rights and the strengthening of the capacity of the internal security forces, judiciary, government officials, NHRIs and CSOs to address human rights violations.

Type of engagement Country Office
Year established 2009
Field offices Nouakchott
Number of staff 24
Annual budget needs US$ 2,189,000


  • At the beginning of its activities, the Office sought primarily to raise awareness on the key human rights issues, in particular slavery, torture, gender-based violence, discrimination against women and transitional justice, through basic training of government officials, civil society and the National institution As a result, these issues are now in the public domain and regularly discussed. Building on these initial gains, the Office continues its technical cooperation and capacity building activities to support the implementation of targeted recommendations provided by human rights mechanisms.
  • As part of its strategy, the Office generated sustainable structures for cooperation on the key human rights issues at the national level. The Office succeeded in the creation of a National Preventive Mechanism (NMP), a National Mechanism for Reporting and Follow-up (NMRF) and an Interministerial Committee for the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on slavery and was granted observer status in the two latter.
  • The Office started human rights monitoring in 2015 with a view to identify systemic pattern of violations. The Office is conducting monitoring of arrests, detention of prominent human rights defenders, prisons, trials, elections, and the situation of vulnerable groups throughout the country, especially in the Southern borders with Senegal and Mali. In light of the governement's cooperation to provide access, the Office needs to strengthen its monitoring activities more systematically to unfold its protection work on this area.
  • While there is general consensus on the key human rights issues among government officials, civil society and the population at large, the ongoing public discussion on how to address those issues is often controversial and tense. Government, civil society and the NI request capacity building and technical cooperation from OHCHR in this regard, and there is a general understanding of the Office as an impartial actor strictly based on international norms.
  • The Office also provides for technical cooperation to the G5 Sahel as an institutional framework for coordinating and monitoring regional cooperation in development and security policies, such as training on counter-terrorism activities within the human rights framework, workshops on programmation in accordance with the human based-approach and sensitization activities on the human rights of suspected terrorists or traffickers.
  • The Office is strenghthening its communication strategy through social media to inform the local population and the international community of the Office's activities, and to reach out the youth and people from the different regions.
  • The last year since the elections created a conducive environment for positive change, which the office noted in relation to its work with the Government. The President's public positioning has been inclusive and encouraging. The human rights minister (Commissaire) and the President of the NHRI (CNDH) are both good allies.
  • The Ministry for Social Affairs, Childhood and Family has also been an active partner of the CO, and this partnership led to the adoption of a decree creating an observatory on women and girls' rights, which follows the model of Komnas Perempuan in Indonesia. There have also been joint efforts by all parties towards the adoption of a law on violence against women and girls, which is now pending with the National Assembly.

Partners and Donors

Partners: Government of Mauritania, law enforcement and judiciary, civil society, UN agencies, international and regional organizations.

Donors: European Union (2019-2021), Faith for Rights (2018-2019), International Organization for Migrations, Norway (2019-2022), and Peace-Building Funds (2018-2020).

UN Human Rights Focus Areas

Thematic pillars

  • Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes
  • Development: Integrating human rights in sustainable development
  • Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations
  • Non-discrimination: Enhancing equality and countering discrimination
  • Participation: Enhancing and protecting civic space and people's participation
  • Peace and Security: Early warning, prevention & protection of human rights in situations of conflict & insecurity


  • Prevention
  • Inequalities
  • People on the move

Spotlight populations

  • Young people
  • Women and girls

Last reviewed: March 2021