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Mauritanian anti-slavery activist runs for presidential election

Dah Abeid vowed to fight corruption and promote transparency [Getty]

Date of publication: 26 March, 2019

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Mauritanian anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid has declared that he will run for the next presidential election taking place in few months.
Mauritanian anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid has declared that he will run for the next presidential election taking place in few months.

The rights activist expressed his intention in an event – attended by party leaders and activists – organised by the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) which he leads.

The anti-slavery movement, however, does not have authorisation to operate in the country.

Dah Abeid, who is a member of parliament, has vowed to draw up a national plan that would put an end to inequality.

He also promised to carry out a comprehensive auditing on public finances and properties as well as setting up a plan to fight corruption and promote transparency.

In his speech, the activist criticised the various regimes that succeeded in power since 1970s, a period that precipitated a series of military coups, last of which brought current president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz into power in 2009.

Dah Abeid, a Haratine and himself the son of a slave, has pledged to end the slavery culture widespread in Mauritanian society.

In 1981, Mauritania made slavery illegal, making it the last country in the world to abolish it. However, tens of thousands of people, mostly from the minority Haratine or Afro-Mauritanian groups, still live as bonded labourers and work as domestic servants or live as child brides.

It is estimated that up to 20 percent of the population is enslaved, with half of Haratines still subjected to enforced labour, with no pay.

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