Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Mali (A/HRC/22/33)

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In its resolution 21/25, the Human Rights Council renewed its request to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to submit, to its twenty-second session, a written report on the situation of human rights in Mali. For this purpose, from 11 to 20 November 2012, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) deployed a Mission to collect information in Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. The Mission was assisted by two officials from the offices of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the fight against Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.

This report highlights the human rights violations that have been committed since the attacks against the Malian army carried out initially by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) in January 2012. The three main regions of northern Mali — Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu — are under the control of extremist groups, which are imposing the strict application of sharia on the population. This leads to serious human rights violations, including summary executions, rape, torture, the recruitment of child soldiers, violations of freedom of expression and of right to information and violations of the right to education and health.

This report also shows that, in the territories under Government control, the situation with regard to the administration of justice, freedom of expression and the right to information remains a matter of concern. The report refers to cases of members of the military and police force who have allegedly been detained and tortured in Bamako, without any real judicial guarantees. Despite the good faith expressed by the authorities, alarmingly, judicial inquiries are at a standstill.

In view of the testimony received, the High Commissioner emphasizes the risk of reprisals and inter-ethnic conflicts in the event of military intervention in northern Mali. Lastly, the report makes a number of recommendations to the various actors involved in resolving the crisis with the aim of protecting the civilian population and promoting national reconciliation.