The United Nations (UN) Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution today authorizing the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission (AFISMA) to help recover the territory in Northern Mali currently under the control of armed groups.
FIDH and its member organization in Mali, AMDH, welcome the inclusion in the resolution of several mechanisms to protect human rights in Mali, echoing the recommendations presented by FIDH and AMDH during recent meetings with Security Council members and heads of UN bodies in New York. Although our organizations denounce the efforts by some UN Security Council members to remove key human rights instruments from the resolution, we strongly support the resolution's calls for:
training of the Malian Defence and Security Forces on human rights,
the establishment of a permanent UN office in Mali to observe any violations of human rights and international law within military operations in the North of Mali,
the use of vetting to ensure that international support does not risk contributing to further human rights violations in the country, and,
AFISMA to support national and international efforts - including those of International Criminal Court - in the pursuit of justice for violations of human rights.
The responsibility for actually implementing the majority of these mechanisms however, falls on individual countries, regional bodies, and the UN Secretariat. The EU for its part has pledged to train the Malian armed forces, and the UN Secretary General has been charged with observing and reporting on the human rights situation in northern Mali.
FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen called on the UN Secretariat and members of the international community to swiftly fulfill their commitments to ensure the prevention of further human rights violations. "All parties - including the Malian transitional authorities, the UN, and regional groups such as the African Union and ECOWAS - must immediately implement human rights protection mechanisms in Mali. If mediation fails and a military intervention does take place without these protection mechanisms, we risk seeing more serious attacks against civilians and violations of human, creating greater animosity and mistrust between the North and South," Souhayr Belhassen stated.
The UN Security Council resolution also emphasizes the importance of advancing a political process in parallel with the preparations for military action. Although the resolution urges the Malian authorities to finalize a roadmap for inclusive national dialogue and political transition including the holding of elections "as soon as technically possible," our organizations remain concerned at the lack of progress towards inclusive political transition in Mali, as highlighted by the recent forced resignation of Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra. Attempts at political dialogue have also been marred by an unfair distribution of seats at the table for distinct political parties and civil society groups.
FIDH and AMDH call on the transitional authorities of Mali to establish conditions for a genuinely inclusive political dialogue, and to prepare for the holding of presidential and legislative elections in order to establish a credible and representative government in Mali.