Human rights defender
Yero is a human rights defender from Mauritania. He is an artist, activist, lecturer, researcher and festival director. Next to his artistic productions, he lectures on human rights and artistic rights. Every year he organises prominent cultural meetings dedicated to human rights (concerts, conferences, workshops, screenings and debates) in Mauritania. He is also a trainer on writing techniques for the benefit of young people and he is the founder of an initiative to inform and educate youth communities through presenting the news in rap form.
Human rights violations in Mauritania
In Mauritania human rights defenders are subject to acts of harassment and intimidation, in particular those working on anti-slavery issues. The political situation is very tense at the moment. A political dialogue was held in 2016 but excluded the opposition and civil society. The current president is suspected of willing to run for a third, unconstitutional mandate. The general human rights situation is worrying, in particular for women and LGBTI people. Serious discrimination and major socio-economic disparities exist between the minority white Arab and the black population. Anti-slavery movements face severe repression with consequences ranging from imprisonment to death for the human rights defenders.
Threats and harassment
Yero has been threatened many times because of his attitude and his actions defending human rights in Mauritania. Once, while he was returning from the countryside after a conference on rap and resistance and a concert he played, he was stopped by the police and he was brutally assaulted, insulted and humiliated and accused of belonging to anti-slavery movements. This forced Yero to live off the radar for a while.