Launch of the MENA region's first NPM annual report

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The National Preventive Mechanism of Mauritania launched its first annual report, and the first of its kind in the MENA region, in the presence of national and international stakeholders to raise awareness about its mandate and its main recommendations to improve the conditions and treatment of persons deprived of liberty.  

As part of the cooperation programme with the Mauritanian NPM, the APT participated in the official launch of the body’s first annual report on Friday 28th June. As the first of its kind from the MENA region, it is an interesting example for others to follow. The launch event gathered national authorities as well as national and international non-governmental organisations.

The NPM presented the main elements of its first annual report, to which the APT provided advice during its development. It covers the period from June 2016 until December 2017. The report is composed of three parts:

  • the establishment and capacity-building phase,
  • the activities undertaken by the NPM, and
  • the key recommendations aimed at improving conditions and treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. 

During the launching event, the NPM discussed with national and international stakeholders the scope of the preventive mandate and the assessment of detention issues in Mauritania. Mr. Ly Saidou – lawyer and member of the NPM – explained in his presentation that “the mandate of the NPM is not like NGOs or governmental institutions; we identify problems and enter into dialogue with the authorities to resolve the problems”.

The APT stressed the importance of the annual report, not only as an obligation under the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), but also as a communications tool that provides both visibility of the activities undertaken by the NPM and the key detention issues identified through their visits. This allows the NPM to establish a dialogue with the authorities and Civil Society Organisations in order to create societies where the risk of torture and ill-treatment is reduced.

By the end of the event the NPM, law enforcement and the penitentiary officials had already identified areas of possible cooperation to better inform persons of their rights upon arrest and in police detention, in order to comply with Mauritanian anti-torture legislation.

During the visit to Nouakchott, the APT seized the opportunity to meet with H.E. Mr. Mohamed Salem Ould Béchir, the Mauritanian Prime Minister, in order to underline the need for continuous support to the NPM preventive mandate. His Excellency reiterated the Government's commitment to cooperate with the NPM while respecting its independence.

The Mauritanian NPM was established in June 2016 and is composed of 12 members and one President for a four-year mandate, which is renewable once. The APT has been cooperating with the Mauritanian NPM since its establishment.