Mauritania's national assembly late Wednesday adopted a law criminalising slavery for the first time.
The practice has persisted in certain parts of the north African country despite its official abolition in 1981.
Under the new law, voted unanimously, people convicted of acts of slavery will risk between five and 10 years in prison.
The bill, initially seen as insufficient by several human rights organizations, was beefed up by the deputies and the final result was hailed by SOS-Esclaves, an anti-slavery group.
"We are very satisfied, it's a great victory for the democrats and the people of Mauritania which would not have been possible without this political will by the president (Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdellahi) and his government," said SOS-Esclaves president Boubacar Ould Messaoud.
Slavery in its original form has become rare in Mauritania but still exists in all the country's communities, especially in the countryside. No official statistics exist on the number of people reduced to slavery.
Last Mod: 09 Ağustos 2007, 12:45