In its first public report on the human rights situation in Mali, the United Nations calls for an end to impunity
Bamako/Geneva - 20 March 2015 : The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the Office of the High-Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) publish Friday their first joint public report on the situation of human rights in Mali. The report documents gross violations and abuses of international human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Mali between 1 November 2013 and 31 May 2014.
The human rights violations and abuses committed by both parties and documented in this report include cases of summary and extra-judicial executions, arbitrary and illegal arrests and detentions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments, sexual and gender-based violence, recruitment and association of children with armed forces, looting and destruction of property. Moreover, MINUSMA Human Rights Division documented a cycle of inter-communal violence opposing the Peulh and Tamasheq communities in the region of Gao between November 2013 and May 2014.
The report documents violations committed by the Forces Armées Maliennes (FAMa) against civilians, including cases of summary and extra-judicial executions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, cases of rape, arbitrary arrests and detentions particularly in Kidal but also in Anefis, Tarssek, Aguelhok and in the region of Gao. According to the information collected by the Human Rights Division, 150 cases of arbitrary arrests have been committed by FAMa between 1 November 2013 and 31 May 2014 among which 78 Touaregs, 31 Arabs, 16 Songhaïs, 1 French et 24 persons whose identity could not be determined.
Besides, the report documents abuses of international human rights and international humanitarian law committed by armed groups, including cases of summary executions, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, de facto administration of justice in the north, recruitment and association of children. The report reveals that asymmetrical (38) and terrorist attacks that targeted national and international forces including the UN personnel were committed by the Mouvement National pour la Libération de l’Azawad (MNLA), the Haut Conseil pour l’Unité de l’Azawad (HCUA), the Mouvement Arabe de l’Azawad (MAA) as well as elements of extremists groups.
The Kidal events of 16, 17 and 21 May 2014 also resulted in serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law which will be covered by a separate report to be published soon.
The conflict in the North has raised the issue of the impunity of the armed groups and extremist groups regarding the serious crimes committed against Malian soldiers and civilians in the 2012 conflict. In retaliation, the FAMa have also committed violations of human rights and international humanitarian law against civilians on the basis of suspicion of belonging or collaborating with the aforementioned armed groups.
“It is necessary that both the Government and the armed groups investigate serious violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by their structures and their members. This is in the interest of victims’ rights and for the reconciliation and establishment of a lasting peace in Mali” declared Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Mongi Hamdi.
“The UN will continue to provide all necessary assistance to the Malian authorities to strengthen the protection and promotion of human rights. We are convinced that the finalization of the initialing and the signature of the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement and its implementation will contribute to achieve the above objective” stressed Mr. Hamdi.
“Amnesties must not be granted to suspected perpetrators of grave human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence. The parties involved in serious violations and abuses of human rights documented in this report must be held accountable for their actions” stated the High-Commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
“The authorities must conduct prompt, thorough and impartial investigations into serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in order to establish the responsibilities. This will create an environment conducive to dialogue with the prospect of a return to lasting peace. The impunity enjoyed by those perpetrators is unacceptable and must stop” added the High Commissioner.
The report is the result of 36 field missions undertaken by MINUSMA Human Rights Officers in Kidal, Gao, Timbuktu, and Mopti during which they were able to monitor over 150 detention facilities in the 4 regions as well as in the localities of Sélengué (140km from Bamako), Dioila (200 km from Bamako) and Markala (Ségou).
With this report, MINUSMA and OHCHR make 19 recommendations to the Government of Mali, the armed groups as well as the international community. These recommendations cover the improvement of the security situation, the full engagement in the process of peace negotiations, the fight against impunity, as well as the improvement of detention conditions and administration of justice. These recommendations aim at supporting Malian efforts for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in respect of human rights.
The full report is available on the OHCHR and MINUSMA websites at:
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