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Mali: Military must fully free all leaders detained in coup, says UN expert

02 June 2021

GENEVA (2 June 2021) – A UN human rights expert today said Mali’s new military authorities should release former President Bah N'Daw and former Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, who remain under house arrest after being moved from a military camp last week.

“I call upon Malian transitional authorities to immediately end the house arrest of these two men and to release three senior military officials from arbitrary detention,” said Alioune Tine, UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali.

Contrary to news reports at the time, N’Daw and Ouane were not set free on 27 May, but were only moved to their houses.

In Mali’s second coup in less than a year, the ousted president and prime minister were detained on Monday 24 May and held at Kati military camp near the capital, Bamako, together with five other top civilian and military officials. One civilian official was released on 25 May and a military official was released on 29 May, but three top officials are still being held at the camp.

“I call upon all Malian transitional authorities to scrupulously respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to restore the rule of law,” said Tine.

Under international law, no one should be subjected to any form of deprivation of liberty except in accordance with the law. Anyone arrested must be informed at the time of arrest of the reasons for their arrest and promptly informed of any charges against them.

“Malian authorities must lift the house arrest of these two individuals and allow the remaining detainees to communicate with their families and lawyers and to receive visits,” Tine said. He also said Mali must allow human rights officers from the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, as well as representatives of national human rights institutions and organisations, such as Mali’s National Human Rights Commission to visit them.

Tine endorsed the call of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Sunday for new presidential elections to be held in February 2022 according to a previously agreed timetable. He said Mali must form an inclusive government to move the country – now suspended from ECOWAS institutions – back to constitutional order and rule of law.

After two coups in Mali within 10 months, Tine called for national and international actors to strengthen State institutions and the rule of law to avoid repeated crises and to ensure respect for all human rights.

However, the main responsibility lies in Mali, he said. “I call on political, military and civil society leaders to exercise restraint and to engage in an in-depth dialogue in order to restore lasting peace, stability and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Mali,” said Tine.  


The expert: 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 24 March 2021 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

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