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UN experts welcome peace efforts in Mali, say respect for human rights essential

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GENEVA (24 July 2020) – UN human rights experts* today applauded the efforts of West African leaders to restore peace and stability to Mali, which is in the grips of a weeks-long political crisis.

“The Thursday visit to Mali by the presidents of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal brings fresh hope for a return to true democracy,” said Clément Nyaletsossi Voulé, Special Rapporteur on rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, and Alioune Tine, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali.

“We strongly urge Mali to fulfil its human rights obligations,” the two experts said. “Respect and protection of human rights in Mali is essential for a peaceful solution to the current crisis, and for security not only in the country, but also in the entire sub-region.”

The fact that so many thousands of people have turned out to protest in recent weeks shows how highly Malians value the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, the two experts said.

They urged the Malian authorities to fully respect and guarantee those rights as well as guaranteeing the life and physical integrity of the demonstrators. They called on both sides – including the demonstrators – to refrain from violence, and said security forces should follow international norms on the use of force.

They particularly condemned the use of excessive force against peaceful demonstrators that resulted in at least 14 deaths and 150 injuries on 10 and 11 July.  “Excessive use of force will only fuel anger and endanger any possibility of a way out of the crisis," they said.

Voulé and Tine welcomed the release of some 200 people arrested during the demonstrations, pending investigation and trial, but reminded authorities that no one should be convicted for exercising their fundamental right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

“We also call for a prompt, transparent, impartial and thorough investigation into allegations of excessive use of force by the Malian security forces on demonstrators in protests organised by the 5 June movement. The authorities must make available data on the number of people arrested, injured and killed during the demonstrations and ensure that those responsible for these abuses are brought to justice.”

ENDS

* The experts: Clément Nyaletsossi Voule (Togo) is Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule has been Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association since April 2018. Mr. Voule has worked tirelessly as a human rights advocate and defender in his native country, Togo, and across Africa. He holds a degree in Fundamental Rights from Nantes University in France, and a Masters Diploma in International Law in Armed Conflict from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

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 22 June 2020 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.

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN human rights country page - Mali

For more information and media requests, please contact Mr. Bardia Jebeli (bjebeli@ohchr.org) and Mr. Jean Claude Misenga (jmisenga@ohchr.org).  
For media enquiries regarding other UN independent experts, please contact Renato de Souza (+41 22 928 9855 / rrosariodesouza@ohchr.org) and Kitty McKinsey (kmckinsey@ohchr.org).

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