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Human rights: UN Independent Expert to visit Mali at key moment in the current peace round

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GENEVA / BAMAKO (26 February 2015) – United Nations Independent Expert Suliman Baldo will carry out his fourth official visit to Mali from 1 – 10 March 2015 to assess the current situation of human rights in the country at a key moment in the current round of peace negotiations.

“At this critical period, mediators and the peace negotiations should not ignore justice issues and the potential to prevent future human rights violations by ensuring robust accountability mechanisms,” Mr. Baldo said. “The institutionalisation of human rights norms is crucial and should be foremost in the minds of those seeking to negotiate a lasting peace.”

“The needs of victims and the requirement for justice, for reparations and for guarantees of a non-repetition should be prioritised,” the human rights expert stressed.

The fifth round of the peace negotiations resumed on 16 February 2015, following a series of informal consultations between the Mediation and the parties in Algiers, and on 19th February, a Declaration of consolidation of the ceasefire was been signed by the parties.

The Declaration provides for the immediate cessation of all forms of violence in line with the cease-fire agreement and the implementation of confidence-building measures in collaboration with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), including the release of prisoners.

During his ten-day mission, Mr. Baldo will meet members of the Malian government, as well as representatives of non-governmental organisations, and victims associations. He will also meet with the diplomatic community and the UN Country Team in Mali. The Independent expert also plans to visit northern Mali.

At the end of his visit, the Independent Expert will share with the media his preliminary observations, findings and recommendations.

The Independent Expert will present his report to the Human Rights Council on 24 March 2015 which includes the findings of his previous mission (October 2014). The information collected during this visit will allow the Expert to provide the Council with a verbal update on the human rights situation in Mali.

Mr. Suliman Baldo (Sudan) took up his functions as UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali on 1 August 2013. In that capacity, he acts independently from any Government or organization. The mandate of the Independent Expert was renewed by the Human Rights Council in 15 April 2014 for a period of one year, to assist the Government of Mali in its efforts to promote and protect human rights and to act upon the Human Rights Council’s recommendations.

Mr. Baldo was previously the Africa director at the International Centre for Transitional Justice in New York. In 2011, he served as one of the three commissioners of the International Commission of Inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire established by the Human Rights Council to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Côte d’Ivoire during the post-electoral violence.

UN Human Rights, country page – Mali: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/MLIndex.aspx

For additional information and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva (before and after the visit: Brian Ruane (+41 22 928 9724 / bruane@ohchr.org)
In Bamako(during the visit): Guillaume Ngefa (+223 79879118)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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Check the Universal Human Rights Index: http://uhri.ohchr.org/en