Human Rights Tulip 2015 awarded to IRA-Mauritania

December 8, 2015

IRA-Mauritania (Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement Mauritania), an organisation dedicated to abolish slavery in Mauritania, will receive the Human Rights Tulip Award on International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2015. The prize of 100,000 euros, awarded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the Dutch Government, is devoted to courageous and innovative human rights defenders worldwide.

Modern slavery

Slavery has existed for centuries in Mauritania; most of the slaves belong to the Haratin ethnicity. Although abolished in Mauritania in 1981, considered a crime since 2007 and a crime against humanity by law since August 2015, the country is still said to have the highest incidence of slavery in the world. Many people are part of a household in which they are not paid for their work, or are mistreated. They do not have any work papers, benefits or access to education and are not allowed to own land. Women and children suffer most from slavery, and enslaved women are often subject to sexual abuse.

Contribution to the fight against slavery

IRA-Mauritania, founded in 2008, demands national and international attention for slavery and supports victims in rebuilding their lives. IRA advocates for the full enjoyment of human rights for everyone. Its activities are twofold: raising awareness on slavery in national and international fora, and leading outreach and empowerment programmes for those directly affected by slavery. Despite the adoption of the anti-slavery law in 2015, President Biram Dah Abeid and Vice President Brahim Bilal Ramadane of IRA-Mauritania have been imprisoned since November 11, 2014, for being members of an unrecognised organisation, participating in an unauthorised meeting, failure to comply with police orders and rebellion.

Hivos support for further development

The Human Rights Tulip prize will allow IRA-Mauritania to further develop or upscale their activities in the area of human rights. Hivos is very pleased to be selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support IRA-Mauritania in the design and implementation of their project.