Mauritania: Protect Human Rights Defender Aminetou Mint El-Moctar

Photo: AFCF   
Equality Now and the international human rights community are extremely concerned about death threats against prominent human rights defender, Ms. Aminetou Mint El-Moctar. On 5 June 2014, Mr. Yadhih Ould Dahi, self-proclaimed leader of the extremist group “Friends of the Prophet,” issued a fatwa in Mauritania, which stated that “whoever kills her or tears out her eyes will be rewarded by Allah.” Further putting her in danger, Ms. Mint El-Moctar’s personal information, including contact and workplace details and her car’s number plate, were subsequently publicized. She and her children were forced to relocate because of this and now have a full time bodyguard protecting them. To date neither the Mauritanian government nor the police have taken no action to protect her or condemn the fatwa, which, according to Ms. Mint El-Moctar, is potentially the first time a human rights defender has not been offered protection or support.

Ms. Mint El-Moctar is a lifelong advocate for gender equality and human rights, renowned for her instrumental work in combating all forms of discrimination, violence and harmful practices against women and their children. In direct violation of her constitutional rights to freedom of opinion and expression, she was targeted for speaking out publicly to demand a fair trial for Cheikh Ould Mkheitir—a young man charged with apostasy who is awaiting trial in northern Mauritania—and her work to address sexual violence in Mauritania.   
   
Ms. Mint El-Moctar is asking for your help. Please join Equality Now, the Solidarity for African Women's Rights Coalition, and FEMNET in calling on Mauritanian authorities to take immediate steps to protect Ms. Aminetou Mint El Moctar and bring those threatening her to justice, so that she and her organization can continue their vital human rights work.

H.E. Mr. Sidi Ould Zeine

Minister of Justice

Ms. Irabiha Abdel Wedoud

Présidente Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme

H.E. Mr. Abderahim Ould Elhadram

Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the United Nations

Embassy of the Islamic Republic

Embassy of Mauritania in London