ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF MAURITANIA: Access to justice for children


This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.

Mauritania ratified the CRC in 2001, as well as the Optional Protocol on the sale of children. The CRC theoretically takes precedence over domestic legislation. Nevertheless, should a conflict arise between the CRC and Islamic law, the latter would prevail pursuant to a Mauritanian reservation. Children can bring cases through their representatives, and private prosecutions are permitted. The National Commission on Human Rights is entitled to receive complaints about human rights violations and grant compensation. Chilren are eligible to legal aid, and a law ensures legal aid for children in conflict with the law in front of all courts from arrest to trial and appeal. NGOs can file and intervene in some cases. Despite these provisions, there are various obstacles to access to justice in Mauritania. In particular, there is no consolidated children’s law. An ordinance on the judicial protection of children provides for specialised courts but only some of these courts have been effectively created.

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