Wrapping up his recent visit to Mali, a United Nations independent expert noted positive developments on the ground but stressed that the “precarious security situation” creates an environment in which violation so of the most fundamental human rights can still occur.
“The Agreement on peace and reconciliation and the extension of the mandate of MINUSMA [UN Integrated Multidimensional Stabilization Mission] are encouraging signs,” said Suliman Baldo, the Independent Expert on human rights in the country, on the final day of his 10-19 October visit.
“I call the various parties to seize this opportunity to establish a lasting peace, with respect for everyone’s rights,” he added.
The UN expert stressed, however, that significant challenges remain in terms of human rights, including the recent violations of the peace agreement and the ceasefire by the politico-military movements, giving rise to violations of human rights.
“Terrorist attacks are rising in the north and gradually extending towards the centre and south of the country, targeting in particular Malian security forces, MINUSMA, humanitarian actors and civilian passenger transport and trade” explained Mr. Baldo, also emphasizing that international drug trafficking, transnational economic crimes and local traffic networks were fuelling the violence.
Mr. Baldo has also pointed to the rise of banditry, which is compounding the suffering of populations and hindering humanitarian work.
“The precarious security situation creates a favourable environment for the proliferation of serious violations of the most fundamental rights, particularly in areas affected by conflict,” said Mr Baldo.
While calling for the perpetrators of these attacks to be brought to justice, the UN expert concluded his statement with a call to the international community to strengthen its technical cooperation and financial support for Mali.
Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.