Human Rights Council
26 February–23 March 2018
Agenda item 10
Technical assistance and capacity-building
1. The present report is submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 34/39, adopted on 24 March 2017, in which the Council renewed the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali for one year with a view to assisting the Government of Mali in its efforts to promote and protect human rights and requested him to submit a report to the Council at its thirty-seventh session.
2. In the present report, which covers the period from 1 April to 30 November 2017, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, Suliman Baldo, gives an account of his ninth visit to Mali, from 27 November to 1 December 2017. The report is based on information collected from government authorities, United Nations bodies operating in the country, national and international organizations dealing with humanitarian issues and human rights, as well as on the testimonies of associations and families of victims of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
3. The Independent Expert wishes to thank the Government of Mali for facilitating his stay in the country and granting him access to all the national and local officials that he asked to meet. During his ninth visit, as with the previous visits, the Independent Expert met with high-ranking officials, including the Minister of Justice, Keeper of the Seals, the Minister of Human Rights and State Reform.
4. The Independent Expert also met the members of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission and the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission.
5. The Independent Expert held talks with representatives of civil society, associations of victims in northern Mali and a youth association, as well as with representatives of the Platform and the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA), the diplomatic corps and United Nations bodies.
- The Independent Expert wishes to thank Mahamat Annadif, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Mali and Head of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and the staff of the Human Rights and Protection Division of MINUSMA. The technical and logistical support from the United Nations system in Mali was essential for facilitating and ensuring the success of the Independent Expert’s ninth visit.
II. General situation in the country
A. The political situation
7. The Independent Expert notes that, more than two years after the signing of the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, very little progress had been made in implementing it owing to a lack of trust and consultation between the signatories. He also notes that the ambassadors of the 15 members of the Security Council and those of other G5 countries travelled to Mali in October 2017 and expressed their deep concern about the continued delays in the implementation of the Agreement’s central provisions. They even stated that, if no new momentum was created, there was a real risk that the progress achieved hitherto would be lost.
8. On 5 September 2017, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2374 establishing a regime of targeted sanctions in respect of Mali and imposing a travel ban and an asset freeze on individuals and entities involved in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security and stability of the country. However, the Independent Expert notes that the effectiveness of the sanctions regime largely depends on the collaboration of other countries, especially those neighbouring Mali, in the event that a travel ban and/or asset freeze must be enforced.
9. The Independent Expert notes that, on 26 November, the day before his most recent visit to Mali, the Council of Ministers decided to postpone the local and regional elections, initially scheduled for 17 December 2017, to April 2018. Several leaders of the opposition had voiced concern about the security situation with regard to the holding of elections. The Government of Mali justified its decision by the need to hold inclusive, calm and peaceful elections and to respond to the concerns of all actors in the electoral process.
10. The referendum on the bill amending the Constitution, initially planned for 9 July 2017, was postponed. The Independent Expert notes that the purpose of amending the Constitution of 1992, which would be the first amendment in 25 years, was to implement some of the commitments undertaken in the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali of May/June 2015. However, thousands of people, including several opposition leaders, among whom were former Prime Ministers and trade unionists, reportedly demonstrated against the amendment.