Transition in Mali: MINUSMA’s mandate must be strengthened

Press release
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(Bamako, Paris) — As the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) must be renewed by 30 June, the Mali Association for Human Rights (AMDH) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) urge the United Nations Security Council to renew and strengthen the mandate, in order to address the security and socio-political challenges related to the multifaceted crisis and the ongoing political transition in the country. AMDH and FIDH recommend that the Security Council maintain a strong mandate to protect civilians and support the political transition process, including by providing MINUSMA with adequate resources to carry out its mandate.

In terms of security, since the beginning of the crisis Malian civilians have born the brunt of the conflict and continue to suffer from the expansion and violence of armed terrorist groups, the increasing number of inter-community conflicts, and the abuses committed in the context of anti-terrorist operations.

“To ensure effective and sustainable protection of civilians, it is essential that MINUSMA continue to support the Malian justice system and authorities in establishing safeguards for access to justice and reparations for victims of the most serious crimes, and cooperate with the International Criminal Court, which has been investigating international crimes committed in Mali since 2012.”

Drissa Traoré, Secretary General of FIDH

The work of MINUSMA is an essential building block in efforts to promote human rights and sustainable peace in the country, including the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali. The renewal of MINUSMA’s mandate and the reinforcement of its personnel must be part of the ongoing efforts to better protect the civilian population, allow the return of the State to certain areas of the northern and central regions, and to restore the rule of law. Particular attention must also be paid to MINUSMA’s ability to document and condemn human rights violations committed by all parties present in Mali, in order to reinforce the idea that while the fight against terrorism is legitimate and necessary, it must be carried out with respect for human rights and the universal rules and principles protecting individuals and collective freedoms.

Our organisations commend the efforts of MINUSMA’s Human Rights and Protection Division in documenting human rights abuses and violations, as this work plays a crucial role in verifying information and providing early warnings.

“In March, following the air strikes in Bounty, MINUSMA responded quickly by conducting an independent fact-finding mission and issuing a report that demonstrated the need for an independent judicial inquiry into the incident. It is now the responsibility of the authorities to follow up.”

Moctar Mariko, president of AMDH

In addition, MINUSMA’s technical support can help further strengthen the work of the Mali government, particularly in the areas of the judiciary and the restoration of basic services in central and northern locations where the state is no longer present. In order for the fight against impunity to become a main pillar of the overall approach, the continued support of MINSUMA’s Justice and Corrections Section through capacity building of the criminal justice sector, evaluation of judicial responses and support for the implementation of a criminal policy and strategy is necessary for the proper handling of cases of serious human rights violations, including conflict-related sexual violence. In order to strengthen this judicial support, it is essential that MINUSMA continue to apply individual and collective sanctions against the perpetrators of human rights violations, ceasefire violations, and for parties that refuse to implement the 2015 Peace Agreement.

On the political front, AMDH and FIDH remain concerned about the latest upheavals in the political transition, a process that started in August 2020. Our organisations affirm their condemnation of the 25 May 2021 coup and take note of Colonel Assimi Goïta’s inauguration, on 7 June, as the new President of the transition, as well as the appointment, the same day, of Choguel Maïga as Prime Minister. Our organisations are concerned by the composition of the government, appointed on 11 June, which includes only six women out of the 28 ministers appointed, i.e. about 21%, which is in violation of Law 052 on the promotion of women to appointed and elected positions, which provides for a minimum quota of 30%. Finally, our organisations also note certain commitments made by the Prime Minister in terms of respect for human rights, during his inaugural speech at the first cabinet meeting on 13 June, notably concerning the fight against impunity for the abuses committed in Bamako in July 2020.

In view of the fragile security, political and humanitarian situation in Mali, and the multiple emergencies facing the country, AMDH and FIDH call on the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolution providing for the renewal and strengthening of MINUSMA’s mandate, and to:

• Effectively provide the mission with appropriate means and equipment to better secure its personnel and the civilian population, who bear the brunt of insecurity;

• Coordinate efforts with Sahelian states to make the protection of civilians, including children, women, persons with disabilities, minorities, internally displaced persons or refugees, and suspects or detainees, a core mandate of all military operations;

• Ensure strict respect for human rights in anti-terrorist operations carried out by the various armed forces engaged in the field and to promote accountability;

• Continue and strengthen support for the justice system and Malian authorities in order to guarantee access to justice and reparations for victims of the most serious crimes committed since 2012, including conflict-related sexual violence;

• Cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its efforts to investigate and prosecute international crimes committed in Mali since 2012;

• Continue to apply sanctions against individuals or groups of individuals, including members of the armed forces, for human rights violations, violation of ceasefire agreements, and failure to implement the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation.

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