"Officially, the Mauritanian authorities have abolished slavery on five separate occasions. But in reality, it exists exactly as before, backed up by imams and other clergy who write laws and issue fatwas justifying slavery.Mr. Merzough, although born into slavery in Mauritania, escaped his country and lives now, a free human being, in Germany. From Germany he serves a mission to awaken the world's attention to the unconscionable slavery imposed on some human beings by others who consider themselves superior and those whom they enslave less than human.
"Slaves are their masters' property, often from birth. Women slaves are allowed to be sexually abused whenever their masters want. The masters can buy or sell slaves or loan out parts of their bodies for use -- arms, legs, vaginas, mouths. The slaves must obey. This is Islamic law as it exists in Mauritania today."
Abidine Merzough, European coordinator, Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania
Mauritania is an Islamic republic. Where it is lawful under local imams' interpretation of Sharia to force dark-skinned black African minorities to be indentured as slaves to the Arabic Moor population. Slavery remains an institutionalized abomination in Mauritania. And slavery represents the very essence of what it is to destroy another human being's human rights to freedom.
Yet the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed West African Mauritania as its vice-president for the 2013 year of its operations, commencing with its annual session held in Geneva this week. Perhaps it should not be surprising that the UNHRC made this appointment. After all, it has in the very recent past appointed other human-rights defying countries to senior positions in support of human rights.
Mr. Merzough did not present his reasoned personal and professional objection to Mauritania's appointment at the UNHRC's annual general meeting, however. He was not invited to do so. It would seem to the UNHRC's organizers to be offensively presumptuous of Mr. Merzough to make any such statement at that august venue where delegates arrive in chauffeured limousines to complacently pledge their countries' support of human rights, while denying them to their citizens.
Mr. Merzough was present at another, companion venue, one organized, funded and counterparting the UNHRC's meeting with their own. Mr. Herzough spoke before The Geneva Summit. Headed by UN Watch, a highly respected organization that does work unstintingly on behalf of human-rights issues (and a critic of the UNHRC) and supported by an additional 20 human-rights-respecting NGOs.
Other invitees to this human-rights summit which takes very seriously the vital issue of human rights and the need to highlight the countries of the world whose perfidiously destructive record on the human rights file is well enough known yet overlooked by the UN's HRC, were dissidents, torture survivors and witnesses from Congo, Iran, Tibet, Syria, North Korea and elsewhere in the world.
These courageous people speaking out about their first-hand knowledge of experiencing dread human rights violations have never been invited to speak before the UNHRC to give witness to the very real episodes, past and ongoing of abusive governments oppressing and victimizing their populations.
Their presence at such a gathering of illuminati would prove to be horribly embarrassing to the United Nations and its theatrical hypocrisy.