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Mali: “Real climate of fear and insecurity in country’s north and centre,” says expert

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BAMAKO/GENEVA (11 October 2018) - The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, Alioune Tine, has expressed extreme concern about the continuing deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the north and centre of the country.

The general climate of impunity has been aggravated by the chronic dysfunction of the judiciary with magistrates on strike for more than 70 days, he said at the end of a 12-day visit to Mali. "The state has not fulfilled its sovereign role in protecting property and people and bringing perpetrators of criminal acts to justice," Tine said.

"In the north, as in the centre of the country, there is a real climate of fear and insecurity with a major impact on the lives of people, haunted by daily violence. This situation is due to the absence of certain state authorities in Timbuktu, Gao, Kidal, Mopti and Menaka, including the absence of the judiciary, administrative, defence and security systems.”

The resurgence of confrontations between members of different communities, the settling of accounts, targeted killings, the use of explosive devices, attacks on humanitarian convoys, kidnappings, robberies, rapes and sexual violence, committed on the roads and cities, are all  having an impact on life, physical integrity, movement and economic activities. Even women and children are not spared from this violence. "No woman can board a bus between Gao and Bamako without risk of physical or sexual violence," said the independent expert.
Tine recommended that the international community reinforce its commitment with the Malian State so that it can fulfill its obligations relating to the protection of property and people, especially with regard to violence against women and girls, which must unequivocally be stopped.

The independent expert expressed his concern over the exacerbation of inter-community conflicts, which are increasingly becoming a risk to national cohesion and coexistence. The State of Mali, civil society and the country’s citizens must urgently develop strategies to end this situation.

The absence of the state in the centre and north of the country continues to affect thousands of children who do not have the opportunity to go to school. At least 332,400 children were denied the right to education during the 2017-2018 school year. Teachers fear for their safety, especially in areas where extremist armed groups are active.

"Security measures must be taken so that Mali avoids a lost generation of schoolchildren," said Tine. The independent expert, however, welcomed the efforts of the Government, including the visit of the Prime Minister to the centre of the country at the start of the school year, to address both this issue and that of inter-community conflicts, and encourages him to continue to ensure the safety of people in the centre and north of Mali.

The independent expert also expressed his concern over the political tensions related to the post-electoral situation and the organisation of the forthcoming parliamentary elections, which must take place in peace and serenity.

Tine pointed out that there are serious difficulties in implementing the Algiers Agreement, which could be settled with legislative measures determining the legal status of peace actors. The misunderstandings that this has created among certain peace stakeholders, such as the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), the Platform coalition, and the Operational Coordination Mechanism (MOC) have affected the confidence of armed groups in the implementation of the Agreement, particularly regarding the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration process, which is key to a lasting peace.

Lastly, the Independent Expert recommended that all stakeholders strictly respect the independence and impartiality of humanitarian organisations providing food and health assistance to populations affected by the conflict.

During his visit, Tine visited the regions of Bamako, Gao and Kidal and met with members of the Malian Government, members of the political opposition, members of the international community, members of the Malian armed forces and the CMA, as well as representatives of civil society and traditional leaders.

The independent expert will submit his report to the Human Rights Council in March 2019.

ENDS

Mr. Alioune Tine (Senegal) took office as independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali on 1 May 2018. The mandate of independent expert was renewed by the Human Rights Council on 23 March 2018 for a period of one year to assist the Government of Mali in its actions to promote and protect human rights and in the implementation of the recommendations made in Council resolutions . Mr. Tine was a founding member and President of the African Meeting for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO) and Coordinator of the Forum of African NGOs at the World Conference against Racism in 2000. Between 2014 and 2018 Mr. Tine was Amnesty International's Regional Director for West and Central Africa. He has published many articles and studies on literature and human rights.

For 
recent reports from the Independent Expert.

The independent experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system, is the general term applied to the Council's independent investigative and monitoring mechanisms that address specific situations. countries or thematic issues around the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not part of the UN staff and they do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of governments and organizations and perform their functions independently.

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For additional information and media inquiries, please contact Brian Ruane (+41 22 928 9724 / 
bruane@ohchr.org)

In Bamako (during the visit): Guillaume Ngefa (+223 94950226 / 
ngefa@un.org)