Mali - Rampant Impunity for Human Rights Violations Poses Grave Risk for Protection of Civilians - Bachelet

Geneva — There have been repeated attacks over the last six months by groups such as the Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), as well as violence across communal lines, all resulting in civilian casualties.

The Human Rights and Protection Division of the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) recorded 617 human rights abuses, including 165 killings (147 men, nine women, seven boys and two girls) by armed groups from January to June 2021. This represents an increase of some 37 per cent on the 449 abuses, among them 121 killings, documented from August to December 2020.

A striking example of the deteriorating human rights situation across Mali is a steep rise in abductions, largely by community-based armed groups and militias in central Mali, notably the Da Na Ambassagou militia, and also by armed groups such as the Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal Muslimin(JNIM).

During the first six months of 2021, MINUSMA documented at least 328 abductions (307 men, 11 boys, nine women and one girl), significantly more than the 187 cases documented during 2020 and a four-fold increase on abductions in 2019.

In addition, MINUSMA recorded a sharp increase in violations by State actors in the first half of 2021 - up from 53 violations recorded between August and December 2020 to 213 violation between January and June this year. Of these, 155 violations were perpetrated by the Malian Defence and Security Forces (MDSF), including extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of 44 civilians. These 155 violations represented some 73% of those committed by State actors.

"I again urge the Malian authorities to break the cycle of impunity and establish prompt, thorough, impartial and effective investigations into all allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including those committed by the military. Accountability must prevail to ensure peace," the High Commissioner stressed. "I note that the Malian Prime Minister recently said he is committed to ending impunity and so I call upon the Government to translate this commitment into action without delay."

"I also call upon the Government to take concrete steps towards the effective and swift implementation of the recommendations of the International Commission of Inquiry," Bachelet added.

"I urge the Malian authorities to ensure that the rule of law is respected and human rights upheld, and to take steps to enhance the gender balance in leadership roles during this transition period," Bachelet said.

Just over 21 per cent of transitional Government are women - six members out of a total of 28. This falls short of the requirements of Malian legislation from 2015 that stipulates 30 per cent of positions filled by appointment or election must be held by women.

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