The African Union has reprimanded Mauritania for failing to take action against widespread slavery within its borders and ordered the government to give financial compensation to two child slaves who were failed by its legal system.
The landmark ruling is the first time the AU has spoken out against the pervasive practice of hereditary slavery in Mauritania, which activists believe affects many thousands of people.
Despite passing slavery laws in 2007, and amending them in 2015, Mauritania has only prosecuted two cases of slavery. In 2011, after sustained regional and international pressure, the Mauritanian courts sentenced Ahmed Ould El Hassine to two years in jail and to pay 1.35m Mauritanian ouguiya (£2,700) to two brothers, Said and Yarg Ould Salem, who had been kept in slavery since birth.
Islam encourages slavery.