The ICRC in Mauritania

05-02-2014 Overview

In Mauritania, the ICRC focuses on boosting detainee welfare, restoring family links between Malian refugees and their families, supporting health services, supplying drinking water, promoting international humanitarian law and helping the Mauritanian Red Crescent develop its emergency response.

The ICRC's main activities in Mauritania:

  • working with prison authorities to improve the conditions of detention and the treatment of inmates (renovating infrastructure, providing food and medical assistance, water, sanitation, prison management advice, legal safeguards, etc.);
  • restoring family links between Malian refugees in M'béra camp (Bassikounou, in the south-east) and their families;
  • improving health care and water supplies for residents of Bassikounou;
  • promoting international humanitarian law with the armed forces and security forces, the media, academic circles and civil society in general;
  • helping the Mauritanian Red Crescent develop its emergency response capability.

The ICRC has been working in Mauritania since the 1970s. Until the 1990s, delegates focused on visiting detainees. Since 1989, the ICRC has also been helping families restore contact who have been separated by tensions between Senegal and Mauritania.

Under an agreement with the Mauritanian authorities signed in March 2005, the ICRC is authorized to visit every detainee in the country.

The ICRC's office in Mauritania became a fully-fledged delegation in January 2013, having previously been managed by the organization's regional delegation in Tunis.



M'Berra camp for Malian refugees, south-east Mauritania, October 2013.
/ CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Sid'Ahmed Ould Sidi