UN reports hundreds of human rights violations in Mali


Soldiers of the France's Barkhane mission patrol in a military vehicle next to a Malian national flag on November 2, 2017 in central Mali, in the border zone with Burkina Faso and Niger as a joint anti-jihadist force linking countries in the Sahel began.

JOHANNESBURG – A new report by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has reported more than 600 cases of human rights violations in Mali, despite the signing of a 2015 Peace Agreement.

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Thursday’s report outlined how the human rights situation in the north African country remains a concern, as it pointed out that the hundreds of violations, committed between January 2016 and June 2017, took place during an interim period specifically designated for laying the foundations for a democratic and unified country.

"This report provides useful insights on the challenges and progress in the human rights situation in northern and central Mali," said Mahamat Saleh Annadif, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of Minusma.

The Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali signed by the authorities, a rebel alliance from the north and a pro-government armed coalition, was finalised in June 2015.

The UN study showed that more than 800 other incidents involving unidentified armed elements and which put the lives of civilians at risk also took place during the reporting period.

Overall, these acts of violence impacted more than 2,700 victims, the majority of whom were men and children.They include 441 individuals who were killed.

Nearly 80 percent of violations, abuses and other incidents that put civilians at risk involved armed movements that were signatories to the Peace Agreement, those which had not signed it, or unidentified armed elements.

Perpetrators also included elements affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine and other similar groups.

Meanwhile, the Malian defence and security forces and other state actors were involved in 20 percent of the cases, while international forces, including MINUSMA, were involved in two percent.

The report said primary factors which led to the violations include confrontations between signatory armed groups in the Kidal region, the expansion of activities of AQIM, Ansar Dine and other similar groups, and increasing armed robberies and other violent crime in the central regions of the country, as well as counterterrorism operations conducted by the state.