General Provisions, Fundamental Principles

                                                       Preamble

Trusting in the omnipotence of Allah, the Mauritanian people proclaims its will to guarantee the integrity of its territory, its independence, and its national unity and to take upon itself its free political economic and social development.

Believing strongly in its spiritual values and in the spreading of its civilization, it also solemnly proclaims its attachment to Islam and to the principles of democracy as they have been defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 Dec 1948 and by the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights of 28 June 1981 as well as in the other international conventions which Mauritania has signed.

Judging that liberty, equality, and the dignity of Man may be assured only in a society which establishes the primacy of law, taking care to create the durable conditions for a harmonious social development respectful of the precepts of Islam, the sole source of law, but responsive as well to the exigencies of the modern world, the Mauritanian people proclaims in particular the inalienable guarantee of the following rights and principles:
- the right to equality;
- the fundamental freedoms and rights of human beings;
- the right of property;
- political freedom and freedom of labor unions;
- economic and social rights; and
- the rights attached to the family, the basic unit of Islamic society.

Conscious of the necessity of strengthening its ties with brother peoples, the Mauritanian people, a Muslim, African, and Arab people, proclaims that it will work for the achievement of the unity of the Greater Maghreb of the Arab Nation and of Africa and for the consolidation of peace in the world.

Article 1  State Integrity, Equal Protection
(1) Mauritania is an indivisible, democratic, and social Islamic Republic.

(2) The Republic guarantees equality before the law to all of its citizens without distinction as to origin, race, sex, or social condition.

(3) All particularist propaganda of racial or ethnic character shall be punished by the law.
 
Article 2  Sovereignty
(1) The people shall be the source of all power.

(2) The national sovereignty belongs to the people which exercises it through its elected representatives and through referendum.

(3) No fraction of the people nor any individual may claim for itself its exercise.

(4) No partial or total surrender of sovereignty may be decided without the consent of the people.
 
Article 3  Electoral Rights

(1) Suffrage  may be either direct or indirect according to the provisions of the law.  It shall always be universal, equal, and secret.

(2) All the citizens of the Republic of both sexes, who are adults and possess their civil and political rights, may vote.
 
Article 4  Rule of Law
The law is the supreme expression of the will of the people.  All are required to submit to it.
 
Article 5  State Religion
Islam shall be the religion of the people and of the State.
 
Article 6  Languages
The national languages are Arabic, Poular, Soninke, and Wolof; the official language is Arabic.
 
Article 7  Capital
The capital of the State is Nouakchott.
 
Article 8  Emblem, Seal, Anthem
(1) The national emblem is a flag with a crescent and a gold star on a green ground.

(2) The seal of the State and the National Anthem are determined by law.
 
Article 9  Motto
The Motto of the Republic is: "Honor, Fraternity, Justice".
 
Article 10  Individual Freedom, Rule of Law
(1) The State shall guarantee to all its citizens public and individual freedoms:
  1. the freedom to travel and to settle in all parts of the territory of the Republic;
  2. the freedom of entry to and of exit from the national territory;
  3. the freedom of opinion and of thought;
  4. the freedom of expression
  5. the freedom of assembly;
  6. the freedom of association and the freedom to belong to any political or labor organization of one's choice;
  7. the freedom of commerce and of industry; and
  8. the freedom of intellectual, artistic, and scientific creative effort.
(2) Freedom may be limited only by the law.
 
Article 11  Political Parties
(1) Parties and political groups shall work together for the formation of the expression of the political will.  They shall be formed and shall engage in their activities freely provided that they respect democratic principles and that through their objectives or by their actions they do not undermine the national sovereignty, the territorial integrity, and the unity of the Nation and of the Republic.

(2) The law shall determine the conditions for the creation, the functioning, and the dissolution of political parties.
 
Article 12  Public Offices
All citizens may accede to public office or employment without condition other than those determined by the law.
 
Article 13  Presumption of Innocence, Personal Liberty, Privacy, No Violence
(1) All persons shall be presumed innocent until the establishment of their guilt by a regularly constituted court.

(2) No one may he prosecuted, arrested, detained, or punished except in cases determined by the law and according to the formalities which it prescribes.

(3) The honor and the private life of the citizen and the inviolability of his person his domicile and his correspondence shall be protected by the State.

(4) All forms of moral or physical violence shall be proscribed.
 
Article 14  Strike
(1) The right to strike is recognized.  It may be exercised within the framework of the laws which regulate it.

(2) Strikes may he forbidden by law for all public services or activities of vital interest to the Nation.

(3) It is forbidden in the areas of national defense and security.
 
Article 15  Property
(1) The right of property shall be guaranteed.

(2) The right of inheritance shall be guaranteed.

(3) The property of the wakf and its foundations are recognized; their use shall be protected by the law.

(4) The law may limit the extent of the exercise of private property if the exigencies of economic and social development require it.

(5) A process of expropriation may be instituted only when public utility demands it and after fair and prior compensation.

(6) The law shall determine the judicial rules for expropriation.
 
Article 16  Family
The State and society shall protect the family.
 
Article 17  Duty to Know the Law
Ignorance of the law shall be no excuse.
 
Article 18  Duty to Defence, No Treason
(1) Every citizen has the duty of protecting and safe-guarding the independence of the country, its sovereignty, and the integrity of its territory.

(2) Treason, espionage, and going over to the enemy as well as all infractions committed with prejudice to the security of the State shall be punished with all the rigor of the law.
 
Article 19  Obligations
Every citizen must loyally fulfill his obligations to the national welfare and must respect both public and private property.
 
Article 20  Taxation
(1) The citizens shall be taxed equally.

(2) Each one must share in the public tax burden according to his ability to contribute.

(3) No tax may he instituted except by virtue of a law.
 
Article 21  Foreigners
Any alien who resides legally on national territory enjoys the protection of the law for his person and his property.
 
Article 22  Extradition
No one may he extradited unless it is by virtue of the laws and conventions of extradition.
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