Mauritania is one of 22 nations that have volunteered to show the world that progress is possible in the global fight to end modern forms of slavery by stepping forward to become a “Pathfinder Country” under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Mauritania’s president banned slavery nearly 40 years ago and the parliament enacted tough laws in 2007 and 2015. As well, the government has recently made wide-ranging international commitments as a U.N. Pathfinder.
But there are significant gaps between promise and practice. The nation’s law is rarely enforced and the human rights of marginalized groups are not respected. Journalists lack specialized training on modern slavery to effectively hold government officials accountable. The voices of civil society, minority groups and the disadvantaged are often absent or excluded.
The Promoting the Rights of Mauritania’s Marginalized Communities program trained 40 journalists from television, radio, print bloggers, v-bloggers and other social media influencers how to report constructively and inclusively on the problem of modern slavery and actions taken by the government to enforce its law and fulfill its commitments. Fifteen human rights lawyers and a leading Mauritanian civil society organization with expertise on modern slavery, ALCD, Association de Lutte Contre la Dépendance (Association for the Fight Against Addiction), were trained on effective media relations skills, to foster visibility of minority voices and their struggle for justice.
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