Mali: Terrorism and impunity jeopardize the fragile peace agreement

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Bamako, New York, Paris – Almost two years after its signature, the Peace agreement of 20 June 2015 is today jeopardized by the strategy of armed jihadist groups, which is extending the conflict from North Mali to the regions in the Center and to neighboring countries. Rising insecurity is increasing the disengagement of the State, violent inter-community clashes, and abuses by the Malian army and armed groups, creating an ideal environment for the expansion of terrorist groups. The international community must urgently reinforce the capacities of the MINUSMA in the central regions of Mali, and Malian authorities should show their genuine commitment to fighting against impunity.

In a position paper published today, FIDH and its member organization the Association malienne des droits de l’Homme (AMDH) analyze the degradation of the security and human rights situation in Mali. They recommend a reorientation of priorities, in order to reinforce the UN mission in the Center of the country and to fight against impunity. A joint FIDH/AMDH delegation is at the UN headquarters in New York from 7 to 13 May to present these recommendations.

«More than 150 persons have lost their lives since the beginning of 2017, in terrorist attacks, targeted killings and inter-community conflicts. Faced with this violence which persists in the North and is developing in the Center, there is an urgent need to respond to protect civilians, and to prosecute and condemn the perpetrators of grave crimes.”

Moctar Mariko, AMDH president.

Mali is currently faced with an unprecedented level of insecurity. FIDH and AMDH are concerned by the proliferation of increasingly sophisticated and devastating terrorist acts in the North and in the Center of the country. In the regions of Segou and Mopti, terrorist groups (such as the Front de libération du Macina affiliated to the Iyad Ag Ghali’s terrorist movement Ansar Dine) have been conducting attacks and targeted actions against representatives of the State and local communities for more than a year. This strategy of insecurity increases the disengagement of the State, which is no longer able to protect civilian populations or to provide them with basic public services, such as access to education and health.

In turn, the disengagement of the State from the regions newly affected by the conflict creates an environment favorable to the establishment of terrorist groups. Moreover, it encourages the civilian populations to take arms and to organize their protection themselves, risking further violence between populations, and deterioration of the situation. The surge in violent inter-community clashes led to the death of more than 117 persons in 2016 and 2017.

FIDH and AMDH call on the MINUSMA to reinforce its support to national authorities in the protection of civilians, in particular in the Center of the country. We also call for the UN Security Council to take individual sanctions against those opposing the implementation of the Peace agreement and against those who sponsor or order violent acts.

The Malian army’s response to this growing insecurity is accompanied by grave violations of human rights, including numerous arbitrary arrests and detentions, and acts of torture perpetrated during anti-terrorist operations.

There is an urgent need to better supervise military activities in order to end these abuses and take all necessary measures to enable basic public services to return. Restoring the trust between civilian populations and the State is crucial in the fight against terrorism.

Finally, the fight against impunity for perpetrators of the gravest crimes remains ambivalent. The FIDH-AMDH report details the state of judicial proceedings currently before Malian tribunals for the crimes committed since 2012. Some advances are promising, such as the opening of the trial against the ex-putschist Amadou Haya Sanogo. However almost all procedures regarding crimes committed in Northern Mali during the 2012-2013 occupation are stagnating. This includes proceedings initiated by our organizations in the name of more than one hundred victims of sexual violence. We call on the Malian authorities to intensify their efforts towards justice.

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