This is a call for action for the international press community to provide increased press coverage for upcoming protests planned against Dictator General Aziz. Sources here say a major protest is planned for August 25, 2012. Prior protests have received little if no press coverage.
Although, slavery has been declared illegal, Mauritania is a country where 20% of the population, who are of black origin, is still considered slaves to ethnic Arab owners. The protests are in line with other popular uprisings from the Arab Spring Movements that have occurred in Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia.
Mauritania has been a hotbed of demonstrations and political unrest that have been largely ignored by the international press. In 2009, the United States supported an African Union call to action on Mauritania. According to US State Department press release, “The United States has consistently issued press releases from the Department of State condemning the coup d’état as illegal and unconstitutional. The African Union has issued condemnation of General Aziz as well as travel bans and the freezing of assets of Aziz and those connected with the coup and the illegal seizure of the Mauritanian government”. Currently, Aziz has been elected to President, but only after his appointees have controlled the election process, which discriminates heavily against the Black African portion of the population.
Although slavery has been officially made illegal in the country, the practice largely continues unabated. The South African Institute of International Affairs had this to say about the matter, “Although numbers are difficult to establish, the Mauritanian advocacy group, SOS Slavery, estimates that as many as 600,000 (men, women and children) – about 20 per cent of the population (3,069,000 people) – in the arid West Africa country could be enslaved.” Unfortunately, little has been done to relieve their plight, and the worst global violations of human rights continue.
The upcoming protests scheduled for August 25, 2012 will be demonstrators seeking the removal of President General Aziz. They are demanding that he step down, and remove himself from power.