West Africa: Allegations of Human Rights Violations and Abuses in the Sahel

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The United States is deeply concerned by the growing number of allegations of human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by state security forces in the Sahel, including those documented by Human Rights Watch in its July 8 report, as well as those reported by the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

The ability of governments in the region to guarantee security for their people and adhere to the rule of law while providing security is fundamental to long-term stability. Continued human rights violations and abuses risk undermining the state's credibility with its citizens, serve as a recruiting tool for terrorists, exacerbate the existing humanitarian crisis, and undermine efforts to bring security and stability to the region.

We welcome the June 30 public commitment by all G5 Sahel heads of state to investigate allegations of human rights violations or abuses by security forces. The United States urges those governments to follow through on their commitments by launching independent and thorough investigations into these allegations, as well as by ensuring full and public accountability for anyone found guilty of human rights violations or abuses.

The United States has made clear that our assistance to the region must not be used in any way that contributes to violations or abuses of human rights and that without prompt and thorough action to address these allegations, U.S. security assistance may be at risk. The United States also appreciates our international partners' emphasis on human rights in their own engagements with the G5 Sahel.

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