On November 1st 2010, the Mauritanian authorities sent a letter to the Mauritanian Monitoring Committee of the Maghreb Social Forum asking for the postponement of the thematic social forum on rights, supposed to be held in Nouakchott, on November 6-7, 2010.
Yet, on October 28th 2010, the Mauritanian authorities reiterated their agreement on the organization of this Thematic Social Forum.
We find this deferral request, akin to a ban, worrying in more than one way because it is not the first of its kind. This is the 3rd time that the Mauritanian authorities prevent the holding of an activity of the Maghreb Social Forum in Mauritania for reasons not explained.
Our concern is even stronger that the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, movement and expression are increasingly flouted in the Maghreb countries.
The members of the Steering Committee of the Maghreb Social Forum
• Denounce vigorously any form of restriction of freedom of association, assembly, movement and expression;
• Express deep concern about the proliferation of measures affecting human rights defenders and trade unionists in the Maghreb;
• Call for an end to all acts of repression and harassment against all human rights defenders, trade unionists and social movements in the Maghreb so that they can exercise their citizenship and their rights freely and without hindrance;
• Require the authorities in the Maghreb countries to comply with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted bythe UN General Assembly, on December 9, 1998 and the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, regional instruments and international human rights treaties ratified by these countries;
• Call upon the human rights defenders, trade unionists, social movements for greater vigilance, solidarity and joint mobilization to put pressures on the authorities of the Maghreb countries to respect rights, to remove all barriers to freedom of movement and the building of another Maghreb, a Maghreb of people, a democratic Maghreb.
Members of the Monitoring Committee of the Maghreb Social Forum
On November 8th, 2010