Mauritania-UN-Rights

Mauritania: OHCHR hails rapist conviction

APA - Nouakchott (Mauritania)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has described the conviction of a rapist in Mauritania as “encouraging,” considering the local context, a statement released Wednesday in Nouakchott said.

“On Tuesday, after the prosecutor requested a 10-year sentence, the Kaedi Criminal Court sentenced the perpetrator of the rape of a 15-year-old girl to five years,” the OHCHR said.

The statement quoted Laurent Meillan, the Office Representative in Mauritania as saying it’s “a first step towards the end of impunity for sexual violence.”

The text considered that in the absence of a general legal framework for the protection of women and girls against violence in Mauritania, many rapes go unpunished by justice.

He nevertheless acknowledged that since 2016, Mauritania has been working on the drafting of a law on gender-based violence, deploring the fact that the National Assembly twice rejected the law in 2017 and 2018, despite the efforts by several ministerial departments and NGOs.

For Meillan, much effort has been made by the Government and civil society organizations to advance this legislation, but “it is now up to the National Assembly to help protect women and girls who are victims of violence, by passing a law in line with Mauritania’s international obligations.”

The OHCHR also pointed out that the UN human rights mechanisms have repeatedly called on Mauritania to legislate on violence against women and girls.

He noted that more recently, in July 2019, the United Nations Committee on Civil and Political Rights encouraged the Government to “sensitize members of Parliament and the public to adopt the framework bill on gender-based violence”, and accelerate the adoption of a new national plan of action on such violence.”

MOO/Dng/fss/Dng/APA

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