Mali: End conflict-related sexual violence

UN Women #OrangeTheWorld #16Days

Paris – Dakar, 25 novembre 2022 - Since 2012, cases of rape, sexual slavery, abduction and forced marriage have been used as weapons of war in the conflict in Mali. On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC) are publishing a joint note on the state of judicial responses to such sexual violence in Mali.

In 2022, after ten years of war, Mali is experiencing an acceleration of human rights violations. FIDH and LWBC warn of the resurgence of sexual violence as a weapon of war. In a note made public, the organisations criticise the inadequacy of the Malian transitional government’s response to the scale of the phenomenon.

In this note, the organisations point to an upsurge in sexual violence committed by jihadist groups, self-defence militias and law enforcement and security forces since the beginning of the conflict in 2012. This phenomenon is particularly visible in the centre of the country, where fighting has intensified since 2018, as recalled in an FIDH investigation report on serious crimes committed in central Mali against the civilian population, published in Dakar on 24 November 2022.

The organisations also warn that sexual violence committed in the context of the conflict is under-documented due to insecurity, weaknesses in the Malian judicial system, fear of reprisals, and fear of stigmatisation of survivors of sexual violence.

According to the note, the response of the Malian authorities to the scale of this phenomenon is insufficient. The lack of political will and the limitations of the Malian judicial system are severely hampering a holistic response to the needs of survivors of these violations.

Victims of conflict-related sexual violence are not only women, but they represent a significant proportion of survivors. As the 16 Days of Activism for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls begin on 25 November 2022, FIDH and LWBC call for condemnation and for all necessary measures to be taken to stop sexual violence, in particular those related to the conflict in Mali. Supporting women’s organisations and strengthening women’s movements seems more essential than ever to end gender-based violence.

Read the full note in French, and in English below:

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statement