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Mauritania
25.07.18
Urgent Interventions

Obstacles to the freedom of movement and association of five human rights defenders as they were to attend the 64th CAT session

URGENT APPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY


MRT 001 / 0718 / OBS 100

Obstructionof freedom of movement and

freedom ofassociation

Mauritania

25 July 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Mauritania.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed about theobstruction of the freedom of movement and freedom of association of Mrs Maimouna Alpha Sy, General Secretary ofthe Collectif des veuves (Widows' Collective), Mrs Aissata Anne, Deputy Chairwoman of the Collectif desveuves, Mrs Aissata Diallo,spokesperson for the Collectif des veuves, Mr. Sy Yaya Ousmane, external relations officer of theCollectif des orphelins (Orphans' collective), and Mr. Baba Traoré,Deputy Chairman of the Collectif des rescapés (Collective of Survivors), asthey were due to attend the 64th session of the United nationsCommittee Against Torture (CAT) in Geneva (Switzerland).

According to the information received, on 22July 2018, the five human rights defenders were arrested by the police atOumtounsy International Airport, from where they were due to travel to Genevain order to attend the 64the session of the United nations CommitteeAgainst Torture (CAT), where Mauritania’s second periodic report is currentlyunder review. Iimmediately after the defenders had completed the check-inprocedures, the police confiscated their passports, on the grounds that theyhad to verify the visas, and asked the defenders to produce a letter from theSwiss consular authorities in Senegal certifying that the visas had been issuedby these same authorities.

As a result of this delay, the defenders werenot able to board their flight and, consequently, could not participate in theperiodic review of Mauritania, which was held from 23 to 25 July 2018. Yet, thefive human rights defenders were in possession of wholly valid Schengen visasas well as of a letter of invitation from the OMCT explaining the purpose oftheir trip.

The Observatory strongly condemns thisobstruction of the freedom of movement and association of Mrs Maimouna AlphaSy, Mrs Aissata Anne, Mrs Aissata Diallo, Mr Sy Yaya Ousmane and Mr BabaTraoré, whose only purpose is to exact a penalty for their actions in defenceof human rights, as well as for their participation in the United NationsCommittee Against Torture.

The Observatory calls on the Mauritanianauthorities to put an end to all forms of harassment against Mrs Maimouna AlphaSy, Mrs Aissata Anne, Mrs Aissata Diallo, Mr Sy Yaya Ousmane and Mr Baba Traoréand all human rights defenders in Mauritania and to guarantee their right toparticipate in international mechanisms for the protection and promotion ofhuman rights.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Mauritanian authorities and ask them to:

i. Guarantee the right to freedom of movementand association of Mrs Maimouna Alpha Sy, Mrs Aissata Anne, Mrs Aissata Diallo,Mr Sy Yaya Ousmane and Mr Baba Traoré and of all human rights defenders inMauritania, including their right to participate in international mechanismsfor the protection and promotion of human rights under all circumstances;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment againstMrs Maimouna Alpha Sy, Mrs Aissata Anne, Mrs Aissata Diallo, Mr Sy Yaya Ousmaneand Mr Baba Traoré, as well as all human rights defenders in Mauritania, so that they can conduct their daily activitiesand actions in defence of human rights freely and without any hindrance;

iii. Conform with the provisions of theDeclaration on human rights defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of theUnited Nations on 9 December 1998 and, specifically, articles 1 and 12.2;

iv. More generally, ensure in all circumstancesthe respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights and with international and regional humanrights instruments ratified by Mauritania.

Addresses:

H.E. Mr Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Presidentof the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Fax: 00 222 525 85 52

Mr Ahmedou Ould Abdalla, Minister of theInterior and of Decentralisation of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Fax: +222 529 09 89 ; Email: mmelhadi@interieur.gov.mr; leminesidi@yahoo.fr

Mr Dia Malal, Minister of Justice of theIslamic Republic of Mauritania, Fax: 00 222 525 70 02

Ms Irabiha Mint Adbel Weddoud, Chairperson ofthe National Human Rights Commission, Email: presidente@cndhmauritanie.mr

H.E. Ambassador Mrs Salka Mint Bilal Yamar,Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the United Nations Officein Geneva, Switzerland. Fax: +41 22 906 18 41 Email: mission.mauritania@ties.itu.int

S.E. Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Brahim Khlil, Embassyof the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in Brussels, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 672 2051, Email: info@amb-mauritania.be

Please also write to the diplomatic missionsof Mauritania in your respective countries.

***

Geneva - Paris, 25 July 2018

Kindly informus of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

TheObservatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) wascreated in 1997 by FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). Theobjective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations ofrepression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members ofProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanismimplemented by international civil society.

To contact theObservatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 4929

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