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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Decry the UN!

Decry the UN Human Rights Council’s Willful Ignorance of Slavery in Mauritania

Target: United Nations Human Rights Council
Goal: Denounce the elevation of Mauritania, which does almost nothing to keep 20% of its population from being enslaved, to the position of vice-chair on the UN Human Rights Council
The United Nations Human Rights Council, the body charged with monitoring and protecting human rights worldwide, has elevated the West African country of Mauritania to vice-chair of the Council. However, Mauritania is widely known to be a country where 20% of the population, including children, is enslaved. The government tacitly accepts this human rights outrage.
The United Nations has a track record for hypocrisy in the area of human rights, at times rightly pointing out abuses and working hard to secure and protect people in humanitarian disasters, but depressingly frequently working with or even praising corrupt and abusive governments. For example, the regime President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, responsible for more than 80,000 needless deaths in the current Syrian civil war, was before the war closely tied to the Human Rights Council.
The recent elevation of Mauritania, a country notorious for tolerating a culture of enslavement, to the vice-chair of the Council is unacceptable. 20% of Mauritanians or some 700,000 people are currently enslaved, many of whom are young children. Slavery in Mauritania was only officially abolished in 1981, and it was not until 2007 that it was even made illegal to own slaves. The government does very little to rescue the victims of slavery in the country; indeed, slavery is part of mainstream Mauritanian culture.
Sign the petition below to denounce the UN Human Rights Council’s decision to elevate Mauritania, an egregious abuser of human rights, to the vice-chair position of the UN’s body charged with protecting human rights.
Dear United Nations Human Rights Council,
Your decision to elevate Mauritania to the vice-chair of the HRC was a mistake. Given that the country continues to have a population which is 20% enslaved and a government which does next to nothing about this outrage, it is the height of hypocrisy for the Human Rights Council to appoint Mauritania to be your vice-president.
I am writing to express my disdain for this move, which puts you in collusion with the tragedy of modern-day slavery, and to ask you to immediately reverse your decision and push Mauritania to address normalized slavery within its own society.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: zbili via Flickr