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Mali: Human rights violations, abuses on the rise

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) reported that at least 527 civilians were killed, injured, or…

The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) reported that at least 527 civilians were killed, injured, or abducted from April 1 to June 30, 2021, representing an increase of more than 25 percent from the first quarter of the year.Civilians pay a heavy price in conflicts, and Mali is no exception. The quarterly report by the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), published on Monday, states that “the main acts of violence against civilians were committed in the Bandiagara, Douentza, Djenne, Koro, Mopti, Niono and Segou circles (50 percent), as well as in Ansongo and Gao (15 percent).

According to the UN mission, “most of the violence was perpetrated by the ‘Groupe de Soutien à l’Islam et aux Musulmans’ (JNIM, acronym in Arabic), the ‘Etat Islamique dans le Grand Sahara’ (EIGS) and other similar groups. Throughout Mali, jihadist organizations “killed, wounded or abducted 54 percent of the victims recorded” according to MINUSMA.

In addition, community-based militias and self-defense groups committed 20 percent of the abuses recorded during the reporting period, while human rights violations attributed to the Malian Defense and Security Forces (FDSM) and international and regional forces accounted for 9 and 6 percent, respectively.

The UNMIS report states that “JNIM and similar groups continued to strengthen their territorial hold, particularly in rural areas of central Mali, with a notable expansion of their activities into the southern circles of the country, namely Ségou and Sikasso.

The response of the FDSM and international forces has included “the protection of strategic urban centers,” but their military operations have sometimes resulted in “serious human rights violations against local populations.”

In the areas attacked, “the absence of judicial authorities has made it difficult to fight impunity,” reports the MINUSMA. However, it commends “the efforts of the transitional authorities to hold the perpetrators of human rights violations accountable for their actions.”

For the UN Mission, “it is important to note the recent organization of criminal trials in Mopti and the signing of prosecution orders against military personnel who were allegedly involved in abuses against civilians.”

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