We the participants at the Forum on NGO Participation at the 35th Ordinary Session of the African Commission On Human And Peoples, Rights and at the 9th Book Fair on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Africa, held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, Banjul, from 18 – 20 May, 2004,
• The persistence of human rights violations which could fuel the risks of institutional instability and violence;
• The unprecedented imprisonment of the main Opposition Leader and former Head of State, Mohammed Khouna Ould Haidalla and his colleagues, on the eve and in the wake of the 7 November presidential elections;
• Their five-year deprivation of civil and civic rights denying, through legal means, a segment of the population from participating in an alternative government- thus inciting certain political leaders to resort to the use of arms as a means of transition;
• The recurrent acts of torture of adult and under age detainees, especially those inflicted on the perpetrators of the 8 June, 2003 putsch and their allies, which retaliation has sanctioned family ties as an offence;
• The case of repeated torturers, who have yet to be punished even though they have already been identified as the perpetrators of racist abuses, committed between 1989 and 1991, on hundreds of black African soldiers and civilians;
• The failure to enforce the Law adopted in 2003 against the traffic of persons, even though proven cases of slavery are on the increase and have been filed before the Courts.
• Censorship of the Press, Human Rights Defender NGOs and certain Unions.
a. That the Commission:
• Makes a public pronouncement on the failure of the Mauritanian Authorities to consider the reports and recommendations adopted at the Algiers session, especially those relating to impunity.
• Fields a fact-finding mission on prisons and the ill-treatment of prisoners, including foreigners, since 2000.
b. That the Government of Mauritania:
• Authorises the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights send observers to the trials of Officers and soldiers involved in the putsch.
• Abrogates all the provisions of the Law which organise, in criminal matters, corporal punishment, infringe on the equality of sexes and restrict the freedom of expression and conscience, in the civil and procedural domains.
• Affords the necessary authorisation to national Human Rights Defenders NGOs with observer status at the Commission or which meet the stipulations of Mauritanian Law on Associations.
Done in Banjul, May 20th, 2004