The education system is under construction, and a general literacy campaign was launched in 1986. However, there is still a large shortage of schools and teachers. For the nomads, there are mobile schools that can follow along as they move. In 1977, only 1/6 of the adult population was literate. In 2009, this figure had almost quadrupled; literacy among the population over 15 years was estimated at 57% (64.5% for men and 50% for women). Even among young girls, literacy has increased significantly; the proportion of girls in primary school is slightly higher than the proportion of boys. Today, the six-year primary school reaches about three-quarters of the children (76% in 2009). After graduation, there is a four-year “lower” secondary school and then a three-year “higher” secondary school. University (founded 1983) is located in Nouakchott. Check topschoolsintheusa for test centers of ACT, SAT, and GRE as well high schools in the country of Mauritania.
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The authorities arrested in January 2015 a prominent opposition politician and former presidential candidate as well as two activists who conducted a peaceful demonstration against slavery in Mauritania. At the same time, 3 other prominent opponents of slavery were sentenced to 2 years in prison.
In November, the country was subject to the UN’s periodic human rights review. It accepted 136 of the Human Rights Council’s recommendations but rejected 58. Including removing the death penalty and punishment for converting Islam from the law. Also in November, former Colonel Oumar Ould Beibacar was arrested at a demonstration in Nouakchott, where he talked about the execution of officers without a sentence in the 1990s. He was released after 6 days in jail and remained under surveillance.
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In May 2016, the Supreme Court reduced the punishment of the two anti-slavery activists Biram Ould Dah Abeid and Brahim Bilal and demanded them be released. They had been incarcerated since November 2014. That same month, the Special Tribunal for Slavery opened in Nema. It passed judgment on two slave owners who were given 1 year unconditional and 4 years conditional imprisonment, respectively, and ordered to pay compensation to two female victims.
It created controversy when Prime Minister Hademine in June 2016 called the president of the employers’ union Ahmed Baba Ould Azizi a terrorist, “worse than al-Qaeda and IS together”.
Mauritania is one of Africa’s poorest countries, yet has one of the world’s richest fishing waters in the Atlantic off its coast. Floating fish factories from the EU and Japan are preying on the rich resources. In addition to being a military dictatorship that grossly suppresses human rights, 10-20% live in slavery. Together with Pakistan and Haiti, it is the country where slavery is most prevalent.