2015 Human Rights Tulip awarded to IRA-Mauritania

December 12, 2015

On 10 December the 2015 Human Rights Tulip was awarded to IRA-Mauritania, an organisation from Mauritania that is working to abolish slavery. The Nethertlands Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bert Koenders, presented the €100,000 prize and the accompanying bronze tulip sculpture to Abidine Merzough, the European representative of IRA-Mauritania.

Working both in Mauritania and at international level, IRA-Mauritania (Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania) is drawing attention to the issue of slavery and supporting victims in building a new life. ‘IRA-Mauritania stands up for people who are marginalised and excluded, and in this way it makes an important contribution to the battle against slavery,’ said Mr Koenders. ‘That is why I have decided to award the Human Rights Tulip to this organisation this year.’

Thousands of people in Mauritania are living in conditions which could be described as modern slavery. Many are born into and grow up as part of a household in which they receive no pay for their work. Often they are also mistreated. What’s more, they are prevented from owning land, attending school or participating in politics. The most common victims of such abuses are women and children. In August this year slavery was made a crime against humanity under Mauritanian law. Mr Koenders said that the Netherlands welcomes this positive development and pointed out how important it is for the Mauritanian authorities to enforce this law.

Mr Koenders’ added. ‘Of course, it is not enough to reflect on human rights once a year. I will continue every day to emphasise the importance of complying with human rights obligations, especially now, when the focus is understandably on combating terrorism and addressing security challenges. Human rights organisations are our allies, as they work towards peaceful, free societies. We need to prevent them from being impeded by incorrectly applied counterterrorism measures, whether here or elsewhere. They must be able to continue their important work.’

At the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch NGO Hivos will also support the organisation’s activities.

Source: 2015 Human Rights Tulip to be awarded to IRA-Mauritania | News item | Human Rights Tulip

2 Responses to “2015 Human Rights Tulip awarded to IRA-Mauritania”


  1. […] In 2015 the Human Rights Tulip was awarded to IRA Mauritania (Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement in Mauritania).  https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/2015-human-rights-tulip-awarded-to-ira-mauritania/ […]


  2. […] The Human Rights Tulip is an annual prize awarded by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to human rights defenders who take an innovative approach to promoting human rights. The prize consists of a bronze sculpture (see picture above) and €100,000, which is intended to enable recipients to further develop their work. [for last year’s award: https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2015/12/12/2015-human-rights-tulip-awarded-to-ira-mauritania/] […]


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