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Statement by the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali and the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls on the increased percentage of women in Malian Parliament

 

10 June 2020

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The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali and the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls welcome the increase in women's representation in the new parliament of Mali. Following elections held on 29 March and 19 April 2020, the percentage of women members of parliament has tripled from 9.52 percent during the previous legislature (2013 – 2010) to stand at 27,89 percent now. The Parliament of Mali now has 41 women among its 147 members. Four hundred and twenty-seven (427) out of the 1,451 candidates competing for the 147 seats in the Malian National Assembly were women (29.44%). This represents a significant progress compared to previous legislative elections.

The Experts congratulate women of Mali for overcoming multiple barriers to achieve this milestone. The Experts commend Mali for all the measures taken by the country to make this positive development possible, particularly the adoption of Law n ° 2015-052 of 18 December 2015 that provides for a minimum of 30 percent male and female representation in nominated and elected positions. The Experts also welcome the adoption on 22 March 2019 of the third national action plan for the period 2019–2023 on women, peace and security to promote women’s participation in the peace process and governance.

While acknowledging these positive developments, the Experts would like to point out that there is still a long way to go to achieve the full participation of women in the public and political life of the country. Almost five years after the adoption of the 2015 quota law, women continue to be under-represented in the public and the political sphere in Mali. For instance, the Monitoring Committee for the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali does not include a single woman. Women represent only four (4) per cent of members of the subcommittees of the Agreement Monitoring Committee. In addition, women make up only three (3) per cent of the National Commission on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, six (6) per cent of the National Council for Security Sector Reform, 20 per cent of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission; and respectively one and five per cent in the interim administrations at the regional and district levels. Lastly, only nine out of the 38 members of the government of Mali are women. The percentage of women on communal councils stands at 25.59 per cent.

The Experts, therefore urge Mali to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the electoral quota law is understood by all and the country reaches at least the minimal 30 percent representation of women in all decision-making bodies. The Experts encourage Mali to continue to take all appropriate measures to address the various factors that inhibit women’s ability to participate in public life. In this respect, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has identified factors such as cultural traditions and religious beliefs which confine women to the private spheres of activity and exclude them from active participation in public life; women’s economic dependence on men which often prevents them from making important political decisions and from participating actively in public life; stereotyping, including that perpetrated by the media, which confines women in political life to issues such as the environment, children and health, and excludes them from responsibility for finance, budgetary control and conflict resolution.

The Experts urge Mali to continue identifying and implementing special measures, which are necessary to achieve equality between men and women in political and public life, in order to contend with the underlying structural disadvantaging of women. As stressed by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, “Policies developed and decisions made by men alone reflect only part of human experience and potential. The just and effective organization of society demands the inclusion and participation of all its members”.

The Experts urge Mali to take all appropriate measures to ensure that the country reaches the minimal 30 percent representation of women in all decision-making bodies. In particular, the Experts recommend that Mali develop strategies to support capacity development for women in public office, including through national and international cooperation among peers and enhance the capacity to consistently and regularly monitor progress at all levels of decision-making across the whole spectrum of institutions of public and political life.

The experts note that there can be no true democracy without women’s full and equal participation in all its institutions. They hope that the increased percentage of women in Parliament will help in the long overdue adoption of key pieces of legislation such as a law to combat gender-based violence (as committed by Mali during its universal periodic review in January 2018) and legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation.

END

Mr. Alioune Tine (Senegal) took office as independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali on 1 May 2018.
The Working Group on discrimination against women and girls was established by the Human Rights Council in September 2010. It is comprised of five independent experts: Ms. Elizabeth Broderick (Chair), Ms. Melissa Upreti (Vice Chair), Ms. Alda Facio, Ms. Ivana Radačić, and Ms. Meskerem Geset Techane.

The Special Rapporteurs, Independent Experts 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.

For more information and media requests related to the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, please contact Jean-Claude Misenga (+41 22 917 9059/ jmisenga@ohchr.org).

For more information and media requests related to the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls, please contact Hannah Wu (+ 41 22 917 9152 / hwu@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN's independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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