DROI Chair Elena Valenciano condemns the imprisonment of anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid (Mauritania)

By European Parliament

STRASBOURG, France, January 20, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Following the two-year imprisonment sentence of Mr Biram Dah Abeid, Brahim Biala Ramdhane and Djiby Sow (he was released under judicial control in November 2014) issued on 15 January by a Mauritanian Court, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights in the European Parliament declared the following:

"It is outrageous that in the 21st century peaceful protesting against slavery is still charged under anti-terrorism law with imprisonment in Mauritania.

On behalf of the Subcommittee on Human Rights I call for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr Biram Dah Abeid and his fellow activists. I also call on the Mauritanian authorities to do their utmost and to repeal the verdict issued on 15 January 2015 against the anti-slavery advocates and to refrain from using force against supporters of the abolitionist movement."


Biram Dah Abeid is the president of the anti-slavery organisation "Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania" (IRA). On 14 October 2013, he was the main speaker of the hearing on Contemporary Forms of Slavery in the Sahel Region organised by the Subcommittee on Human Rights.

He received several human rights awards, among which the United Nations Human Rights Prize (2013) and the Front Line Defenders Award in the same year.

Mauritania has the world's worst record on slavery and is the last country to have abolished it on paper but the practice continues although the exact number of slaves is difficult to be estimated.

On 18 December, the European Parliament adopted an urgency resolution on Mauritania, in particular the case of Biram Dah Abeid.