In January 2011, a Nouakchott court convicted a woman of child slavery under the 2007 anti-slavery law and gave her a six-month sentence. The decision proves significant in a nation where almost 40% of the [3.1 million] Mauritanian population lives in a state of slavery or have relatives who are slaves.
In late October, an agreement was reached between the government and the opposition on democratic reforms. Substantive items included constitutional reforms that would restore parliamentary authority over the government, enshrine important human rights norms, and establish an independent commission for national elections. Other areas subject to reform included the judiciary, the electoral code, the rotation of power, the status and the role of the national army, and the fight against terrorism. In October, Parliament also passed a media reform law abolishing prison terms for journalists in cases related to insulting the president, foreign heads of state and diplomatic entities in Mauritania.