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Hassan Ould Moctar

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A Brief History of Fortress Europe

[Image of European Union flag. Image by Rock Cohen/Flickr]

Three days into 2016, the European border crisis claimed its first victim: a two-year-old boy who drowned off the coast of the Greek island of Agathonisi. Compared with the public outcry that the photos of Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body on a Turkish beach provoked the previous August, the reaction to the fact that European border policies had killed another innocent toddler was tepid to say the least. While it may be the case that the lack of a tragic image attesting to the ...

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Behind the Imprisonment of Mauritanian Anti-Slavery Activists

[Mauritanian activists meet calling for action regarding the anti-slavery law. Image by Jemal Oumar/Flickr]

On 20 August, a Mauritanian court ruled to uphold a two-year prison sentence against anti-slavery activists Biram Deh Abeid, Brahim Ramhdan Bilal, and Sow Dijby, following an appeal trial held in the city of Aleg. The court initially charged these men in January after their arrest during a peaceful demonstration the previous November.  The week of 17 August also saw some seemingly contradictory legislative steps in Mauritania relating to slavery and the groups that ...

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Migration, Fisheries, and the Supremacy of European Interests in Mauritania

[Image of a ships graveyard in Nouadhibou, Mauritania. Image by slosada/Flickr]

A breakdown recently occurred in negotiations between the European Union (EU) and Mauritania over a new fisheries protocol; the protocol is a cornerstone of relations between the two, albeit a contentious one. The previous partnership agreement (expiring at the end of 2014) contained somewhat progressive measures, thanks to the lobbying efforts of local fishermen and activists. However, these measures may now be at risk of reversal due to the breakdown in ...

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After Mauritania’s Elections: Toward Reform or a Political Charade?

[Image of Mauritanian President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. Image by Magharebia/Flickr.]

The first round of legislative and municipal elections held in Mauritania on 23 November signified the end of a two-year period of a parliamentary limbo. The country has been mired in a sustained constitutional crisis since 2011, when elections that were due to take place in September of that year were indefinitely postponed, leaving the National Assembly without a legislative mandate. Over two years later, these legislative and local elections have just now ...

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Colonisation Pacifique?: Examining the Contradictions of Xavier Coppolani’s Expansion into Mauritania

[Image of Xavier Coppolani. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

In 1899, Louis Gustave Binger, the head of African affairs at the French Ministry of Colonies, received a proposal outlining a plan to bring a large swath of North African tribal territory under French control. The proposal covered a vast expanse of land, primarily desert, stretching up from the Senegal River to the bottom of the Kingdom of Morocco and eastward toward the south of Algeria. The name used in the proposal to delimit this geographical area was “la Mauritanie ...

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The New European Union and Mauritania Fisheries Agreement: Between Sustainability and Vested Interests

[European Union officials meet with their Mauritanian counterparts to discuss the renewal of a fishing pact. Image by Bakari Gueye/Magharebia.]

On 29 May, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament voted to reject a new European Union-Mauritania fishing agreement, negotiated in July 2012. The grounds for rejection were that the new clauses regarding licensing for European fleets to fish in Mauritanian waters would be neither profitable nor to the benefit of either party.  The waters off the coast of Mauritania are some of the richest and most biologically diverse in the world. As a result, they are of ...

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Bio

Hassan Ould Moctar

 

Hassan Ould Moctar studies Migration and Ethnic Studies at the Graduate School of Social Sciences in the University of Amsterdam. His research interests include political and social issues in Mauritania and the Maghreb region, European immigration policy, and immigration and integration in various European national contexts. He tweets at @HibernoMoor.