Promotion of human rights and human rights dialogue

Project description

Title: Promotion of human rights and human rights dialogue in Mauritania
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Mauritania
Lead executing agency: Ministre de l’Economie et des Finances (MEF)
Overall term: 2015 to 2020


A participant interprets a caricature during an awareness raising campaign on domestic violence in the Assaba and Gorgol regions


Mauritania has ratified the main African agreements on human rights, along with the United Nations’ nine core human rights treaties. The country is also making considerable efforts to embed these international commitments in its national legislation, strategies and policies.

Mauritanian-German cooperation is supporting the endeavours of state and civil society actors to realise these enshrined rights. To this end, the project builds on human rights education to promote tolerance and social cohesion; works to empower key institutions to protect human rights more effectively, and strengthens public dialogue on human rights.

A community paralegal advises his client on her case


The conditions for the realisation of human rights have been improved.


The project comprises four complementary fields of activity.

  1. Working with its partner organisations, the project intends to make the Mauritanian population, especially women and young people in rural areas, aware of their human rights. The aim is to use information and education initiatives to increase the population's resolve to demand respect, protection and the realisation of their rights. To this end, the project is advising state and non-state actors on developing, implementing and evaluating culturally sensitive awareness-raising measures.
  2. The capacities of relevant state actors and selected civil society organisations are being strengthened. For example, the project is providing specialist and organisational consultancy to equip Mauritania’s National Human Rights Commission to carry out its mandate more effectively. Dialogue forums are also being organised to bring together civil society actors, religious authorities and political decision-makers. The aim is to develop joint strategies in response to current challenges to human rights.
  3. The project is promoting the role of the media and encouraging a public debate on human rights. In this respect, it is assisting with the development of innovative and objective media platforms to support journalists in their reporting activities and reinforce their commitment to promote human rights. Emphasis is also placed on working with young people to this end, providing them with journalistic tools to make their voice and the voice of other young people heard in the media, in society and in the political arena.
  4. Recognised members of the community receive training as paralegals in order to improve access to legal advice in rural areas. Such individuals can advise people in need of assistance and, if necessary, may also conduct extra-judicial proceedings or refer cases to judicial authorities. This system is coordinated by a centre for extra-judicial legal advice under the supervision of civil society organisations. This approach complements the human rights education activities by raising awareness about modern law and jurisprudence and by improving access to the legal system.

The project is part of a special initiative designed to stabilise and promote development in North Africa and the Middle East run by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Through the projects that make up this special initiative, BMZ is helping to open up economic and social prospects for people in the region. Within this context, an additional sum of more than EUR 300 million has been earmarked for projects carried out by GIZ and other implementing organisations in the period from 2014 to 2021. The thematic focus is on youth and employment promotion, economic stabilisation, democracy and stabilising neighbouring countries in crisis situations.

A youth reporter films an interview on social cohesion in the city of Kiffa (Assaba region)


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