Castes, Feudalism, Slavery

IRA is dedicated to ending slavery, racism and gender oppression in Mauritania. IRA has put slavery on the front pages of Mauritanian and international news sources. IRA is dedicated to fighting slavery in every part of Mauritanian society.

Black African tribes in Mauritania include the Pular (also called Fulani), the Soninke, the Wolof, and the Bambara. Caste and slavery figure in these tribes and needs to be part of the national solution. For example, the issue of slavery among the Soninke featured in a public debate, but this was a debate in Soninke and  most of Mauritania could not participate.

The national government of Mauritania is controlled by the White Moors. Changing national policy requires challenging the White Moor leadership and their unwillingness to enforce anti-slavery laws. The persistence of feudal slavery on the village level depends on this national policy as well on the local tribal customs.

IRA demonstrations against slavery force the public to acknowledge slavery and to discuss how to move beyond slavery. Without IRA on the streets, demanding an end to slavery, Mauritanians would keep a judicious silence on the topic.  After all, it is dangerous to challenge the status quo. Tradition is very strong in Mauritania. Challenging it is not for the faint of heart.

Recently IRA Mauritanie joined a group of local human rights organizations in challenging Black tribal slavery.

En Mauritanie, les tensions liées à la féodalité réapparaissent comme un phénix à chaque fois que les enjeux sont importants et quand surtout ceux-ci impliquent des personnes d’extraction servile. Les illustrations ne manquent pas : dans le village de Goïnitt dans le Guidimakha, la féodalité refuse un projet de point d’eau sous prétexte que l’initiative leur vient des « komos » ou esclaves ; dans celui de Testaye, un autre projet de construction d’une école « Medersa » est bloqué par la féodalité toujours sous le même fallacieux prétexte que la chefferie villageoise ne leur appartient pas, et donc aucune attribution d’une aire ne pourrait être accordée aux anciens esclaves « komos » peu importe la faisabilité du projet. Cette mentalité digne du code noir est à combattre sur tous les fronts. Les partis politiques ne sont pas épargnés par le phénomène.

Ex-patriot communities in France and Spain suffer from this same type of prohibition on slave caste individuals from occupying positions of power. For example, in June 2015 in the Spanish town of Almeria, an older Soninke man accused a younger Soninke of being a “son of slaves who is daring to rebel.” The younger man defended himself as best he could and the altercation finally ended through the intervention of the police.

IRA encourages all Mauritanians in all communities to stand up for equality under the law.

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