Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-09-06-Speech-4-169"

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"Mauritania is preparing thoroughly for the elections in October. Political opponents of the regime are being neutralised. People are being arbitrarily arrested, excessive force is being used against peaceful demonstrators and the press now serves only as the president’s lackey. The judiciary is again entirely at the disposal of those with political power. Their Honours recently sentenced the principal political opponents of the president in a show trial to no less than five years in prison. The imprisoned politicians were kept for a long period and then taken to prison 800 km from the capital, so that they can receive almost no visitors. It appears that no one can do anything to stop this. Independent human rights organisations can scarcely operate in the country. While Western countries are obliged to apologise in Durban for the slave trade conducted by their distant ancestors, slavery is still common practice in Mauritania. In the caste system, people become serfs at birth. They receive no education; no income from forced labour and are not allowed to marry without the permission of their master. According to an estimate by the American State Department a few years ago, there are still some 90 000 slaves in Mauritania. As recently as 1983, this country was the last on earth to abolish slavery officially, but still does its utmost to keep the gruesome reality hidden from the outside world. It is high time that the European Union opened the consultative procedure of Article 96 with Mauritania. We cannot continue giving aid and maintaining intensive trade relations as if there were no problem. We must prepare for pseudo-elections in a pseudo-democracy."@en1

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