Humanists UK at UN calls for repeal of Mauritania’s blasphemy and apostasy laws

8 July, 2021

Today, Humanists UK called on Mauritania to repeal its blasphemy and apostasy laws at the UN Human Rights Council.

Humanists UK’s Public Affairs Manager Karen Wright made the video intervention during a debate on the Universal Periodic Review of Mauritania. In her comments, she said:

‘We are deeply concerned that apostasy and blasphemy laws have become even more stringent. In 2018, the Government enacted mandatory death sentences for apostasy and blasphemy remains a capital offense. These laws are not compatible with the rights to life, freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, freedom of expression, or the freedom of religion or belief. We urge Mauritania to repeal these laws to guarantee the rights of all its citizens and those within its jurisdiction.

‘Islam is the only recognised religion in Mauritania. Non-Muslims are restricted from having citizenship status. Muslims who convert from Islam lose their citizenship, property rights, and even their lives under the apostasy laws. The preamble of Mauritania’s 1991 Constitution declares a ‘right to equality’ and the ‘fundamental freedoms and rights of human beings’. These are empty and meaningless words.’

Humanists UK raised the issue of the detention of Mauritanian anti-slavery blogger Cheikh Ould Mohamed M’kheiter with the Council in 2019. He was released later that year, and in fact made an intervention today on behalf of Humanists International right after Humanists UK’s intervention.


For further comment or information, please contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 020 3675 0959.

Watch the intervention.

Read the intervention.

Read more about our international campaigns.

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