Mohamed Ould Meine, the military government’s spokesman and a former communication minister, gave a news conference 24 hours later in which he said he “regretted” the use of violence against the protesting journalists but did not comment on Braham’s arrest or Taqadoumy’s closure. March 18, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Journalist released, website allowed to reopen July 6, 2020 Find out more News May 20, 2021 Find out more Help by sharing this information to go further MauritaniaAfrica Braham, a Nouakchott University professor who often writes articles in Arabic and English that he posts on the website, was arrested on the evening of 15 March while in a café with several friends. Organisation “The closure of a website and the arrest of one of its editors are unprecedented in Mauritania,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This development, which is particularly disturbing as it opens the way for all kinds of abuses, was made possible by the legal vacuum in which the electronic media operate in Mauritania. The relevant authorities must urgently address this issue and adopt legislation that regulates the Internet while respecting free expression.” News MauritaniaAfrica Reporters Without Borders has learned that writer and journalist Abou Abbass Ould Braham, the editor of the news website Taqadoumy, was released today after being held for three days in the Mauritanian capital and that the website was allowed to reopen 24 hours after the Nouakchott prosecutor’s office ordered its closure. Mauritanian reporter held for two days over Facebook post Receive email alerts RSF_en News RSF backs joint op-ed by 120 West African media and journalists calling for Beninese journalist’s release The prosecutor-general announced Braham’s release and the website’s reopening this morning. A Nouakchott criminal court had ordered Taqadoumy’s closure yesterday at the request of prosecutors for posting “mendacious and defamatory” information. The prosecutor’s office said the order was issued “after receiving repeated complaints from people, establishments and officials that Taqadoumy had disseminated mendacious reports.” The court accused the site of violating journalistic ethics and undermining national unity by means of “defamation and inciting hatred.” News Journalists face archaic sanction of capital punishment in some parts of the world In 2005, Reporters Without Borders helped the Mauritanian authorities draft amendments to a law on free expression that led to the abolition of censorship. In the same way, the organisation stands ready to help the authorities and journalists draft a law guaranteeing online free expression. A number of journalists staged a demonstration in support of Braham the next day outside the United Nations office in Nouakchott, brandishing placards saying “Don’t gag free expression” and “No to a backward step for press freedom in Mauritania.” They were dispersed violently by anti-riot police using batons and teargas. Several of the journalists were roughed up, including Hachem Sidi Salem of Al Hourra TV and Reuters, Ahmedou Ould Wedia of the Arabic-language daily Siraj and Abdallahi Ould Etvagha El Moktar of Sahara Media. Follow the news on Mauritania March 13, 2020 Find out more
Thank you very much indeed, Mr President. Thank you to the Special Envoy – and it’s very good to know that your office in Myanmar is up and running. Could I say at the start, Mr President I apologise if I may have to slip away before the Council session is over. I am hosting an event for Brian Urquhart who turned 100 today. Colleagues will know that Brian Urquhart was one of the original officials in the United Nations – working closely with very many Secretaries General and indeed was instrumental in setting up peacekeeping and also the IAEA. So please forgive me if I need to step away for this event.I think there has been such attention by this Council on the events in Myanmar and particularly of the Rohingya. And I think it’s fair to say Mr President it remains one of the most pressing issues before us. The displacement – the forced displacement – of several hundreds of thousands of people across an international border is bound to be something the Council needs to keep before it. And the alleged crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya also deserve the most serious attention of the Council. And I’m also very grateful to the Special Envoy for setting out the situation across the country, which I think we also need to have regard to in the Council.I wanted to start if I may Mr President on political developments. We as the United Kingdom: we are a long standing supporter of the Burmese people’s efforts to emerge from many decades of military rule and to transition to democratic civilian government. As – did the Special Envoy- we recognise that Burmese democracy is still young and it’s fragile. But the upcoming elections next year are an important moment and that efforts to consolidate the democratic transition are ongoing. This is why it was very good to hear about the constitutional amendments. As I said: we recognise that conflict continues across Myanmar and the loss of life and displaced people that we’ve seen is also of great concern. And I think it’s beyond doubt that a nationwide peace settlement which guarantees rights and security for all the peoples of Myanmar is also a very high priority.I think we should be clear, Mr President, about two particular things. It is the Burmese military who are the root cause of these longstanding problems. And in our pronouncements I think it’s very important that the Council make very clear: that we united are on the side of all those in Myanmar who want peace and democratic change and that we will help them in that.But just to concentrate on the Rohingya if I may, Mr President, for the reasons I outlined. I think we’re very disappointed that more hasn’t been possible that there hasn’t been more progress on getting the refugees back -and that obviously includes creating the conditions where the refugees feel able to go back – which is why the proposal that the Rakhine Advisory Commission became so important. I want to be clear Mr President, we as the United Kingdom are not ideological about the refugees returning home. They need to return home but they can only do so on the basis of the UNHCR established principles that returns are safe that they are voluntary and that they are dignified and that they are secure. And we really want those principles to be upheld. We know that ASEAN has taken a very strong interest in returns and this is welcome. Possibly the Indonesian Ambassador will be able to say more. We know that the AHA center has been involved. We know that the Chinese Envoy has been making strenuous efforts. I repeat Mr. President, we don’t mind from our perspective; we are not dogmatic about who helps the refugees to get back but we do want to see the UNHCR principles adhered to because they are there for a reason. They’re to ensure the safety of ordinary people.I also want to pay tribute in the presence of his excellency the Minister – to the generous support that Bangladesh has given and continues to give to the Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar and on their territory. And they have made enormous efforts to help the Rohingya people and we believe that the international community should continue to support Bangladesh in this.The Rakhine Advisory Commission recommendations – still to our mind – remain the best blueprint for Rakhine. We will be very interested to see the Myanmar government take three initial steps.We would like the UN coordinators offer to develop a transparent Joint Implementation Plan to be accepted. We would like UNHCR and UNDP to have unconditional and widespread access in Rakhine. They have had some. But it isn’t enough, Mr President, to make the proper assessments of conditions on the ground that could encourage refugee return. And we would like to see freedom of movement granted to those Rohingya who do remain in Rakhine. This would be a good start and enable the international community to have a platform to offer support and there is a clear will among the international community to do that, as I’ve said.The Special Envoy touched also on accountability – I think this really goes to the heart of everything Mr President. Firstly it’s essential for the refugees to have confidence that they can go home and that they will be secure. It is also essential though because it’s important to uphold the norms of international justice. I know this is a difficult concept for some on the Council. But the scale of what has been done to the Rohingya Muslims and the allegations of crimes against humanity really mark this out as one of the most terrible events of this century so far. I think we need to keep that in mind.I’m very grateful to the Special Envoy for all her efforts to encourage complementarity between the different UN instruments and the Independent Commission of Inquiry. I think the more the ICoE and Rosario Manalo can work with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the better outcomes we will see there. But I just want to conclude if I may by saying we remain committed to finding the way forward – as the United Kingdom – and we can remain committed to working with our partners on the Council with Myanmar and Bangladesh, with the Special Envoy. Thank you.