Nouakchott, Mauritania (PANA) - The National Human Rights Organizations Forum (FONADH), a group of 15 Mauritanian NGOs, has called for a tripartite agreement between the governments of Mauritania and Mali and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for the repatriation of Mauritanian refugees in Mali.
In a statement Friday, the group condemned the remarks made at the National Assembly by the Mauritanian Interior Minister Mohamed Ould Boilil, in which he said there were no refugees.
The group also pointed out that "since 1989, part of the Fulani population in Kankossa, Ould Yenge and Selibaby (South-eastern Mauritania, western Mali border) was forced to take refuge in the region of Kayes (Mali) by elements of the security forces or their auxiliaries during 1989-1990 period."
According to the group, "several humanitarian agency missions, including UNHCR, have reported the existence of Mauritanian refugees in Mali and recently, UNHCR has begun a census of the refugees."
Following ethnic clashes in late April 1989, hundreds of victims on both sides of the Senegal River and tens of thousands of Mauritanians were forced to leave their country and take refuge in neighbouring states.
-0- PANA SAS/SSB/IBA/BOS 14Oct2011