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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Tuesday, 22 January 2013 (Afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record.  The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed.  An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review

Mali
Represented by five-member delegation headed by Malick Coulibaly, Minister of Justice.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Mali page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Angola, United Arab Emirates, Montenegro.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
 (See full statement on the Mali page on the UPR Extranet)

  • The drafting of the national report of Mali was the result of an inclusive process of national participation between government and civil society with support from the Francophonie; the Ministry of Justice also set up an inter-ministerial committee to draft the report;
  • The presentation of this report was taking place within a context marked by turmoil marked by a break in constitutional order sparked by the mutiny in the northern part of Mali;
  • The head of delegation noted that efforts were underway to liberate the northern part of the country and military actions to assist Mali to recover its territorial integrity and to end the tremendous suffering on-going in the country;
  • Despite the on-going crisis the Government’s response to human rights continued unabated as demonstrated by its respect for international human rights standards and its commitment to cultivating peace and democracy;
  • The National Human Rights Commission was created by a decree of 2009 and modifications had been made in 2012 to afford the Ombudsman with more freedom to conduct his duties;
  • As regards women and children, at the institutional level the Ministry for the Promotion of the Family, Women and Children was created to uphold their rights; 23 centres for women’s empowerment were also set up;
  • The Government was also drawing up a national policy to promote and protect children and a national unit was also set up to combat child labour; in February 2009 a decree was enacted citing dangerous work banned for children;
  • The Government undertook vast reforms of the judicial system and several new laws have been drawn up to allow for better access to justice;
  • A national policy for the promotion and protection of human rights was also being drawn up which was expected to be adopted towards the latter half of 2013;
  • There was now a law adopted to abolish the death penalty, which was before the National Assembly; a de facto moratorium has been in place and Mali has not carried out any executions since the 1980s;
  • The crisis since January 2012 had a negative impact towards the full enjoyment of human rights in the country; efforts and assistance was needed to maintain the progress already made in the sphere of human rights;
  • The assistance from the international community was essential to enable the implementation of the State’s human rights policies which would thus ensure the well-being of the population, and, among other things, address the humanitarian aspects of the current crisis.  

Participants

In total 70 States participated in the dialogue:  26 HRC members and 44 observers (Statements available on the Mali page on the UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The adoption of the family code and the national plan of action for the elimination of child labour;
  • Awareness raising programmes to sensitize the public about female genital mutilation;
  • The establishment of the National Human Rights Commission and the strengthening of the Office of the Ombudsman; 
  • Efforts undertaken to improve education and health systems in the country;
  • Measures to improve the participation of women in public life;
  • The ratification of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and the Convention on enforced disappearances.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Efforts by State and non-State actors to uphold human rights vis-à-vis the on-going conflict;
  • Steps to ensure accountability for human rights violations being committed amidst the crisis;
  • Measures taken to prevent the recruitment of child soldiers; 
  • Efforts by the authorities to eliminate female genital mutilation;
  • Steps taken to uphold the freedom of expression and address threats against journalists;
  • Measures to continue providing basic social services throughout the country.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Mali.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • An investigation of all crimes committed in relation to the crisis in Mali, anywhere in the country;
  • Identify and hold accountable all perpetrators of human rights abuses in the north and in Bamako through a transparent and judicial process and in cooperation with the ICC;
  • To ensure that international human rights standards were observed by Malian Armed Forces, in particular the ban on torture and ill-treatment and to establish a commission of inquiry for cases of disappearances or torture committed by the military of police since the coup d'état of last year;  
  • To prevent the recruitment of child soldiers and to put in place a mechanisms for the reintegration of demobilized child soldiers;
  • To pursue a national dialogue for the reestablishment of the State, reconciliation and the consolidation of peace and to draw up a road map for the holding of elections as soon as possible;
  • To protect women against sexual violence in accordance with Security Council resolutions;
  • To take legislative measures to eliminate all forms of female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices and to intensify public awareness campaigns to sensitize the public about FGM;
  • To ensure that the freedom of religion or belief be observed in all parts of the country and all religious sites be duly protected;
  • To continue efforts aimed at protecting freedom of expression and end practices that threatened the right to freedom of expression, including threats against journalists and the media;
  • To complete the process of abolishing the death penalty;
  • To redouble efforts in designing a comprehensive health programme, including through providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation and to strengthen programmes to reduce poverty and access to health and education services;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: 2nd OP to the ICCPR, and the OP to ICESCR. 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Mali is scheduled to take place on Friday, 25 January 2013.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org

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