Security situation deteriorates, human rights concerns rise

The United Nations

UN troop rotations in the peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) resumed on Monday with a new approval mechanism.

The development comes one month after Mali’s ruling junta suspended troop rotations for the nearly 12,000-strong mission and accused 49 soldiers from the Ivory Coast of entering the country without permission on 10 July.

Ivorian soldiers charged

The soldiers, described by the Government of Mali as “mercenaries,” were part of logistical support operations for the MINUSMA, according to Abidjan.

Malian justice authorities officially confirmed that the soldiers had been imprisoned, charged with “attempting an attack on State security”.

The arrests last month highlighted the exiting friction between the junta, which seized power through a coup in August 2020, and the UN, whose peacekeepers have been providing security from Islamist militants in the country since 2013.

Streamlined rotation

The UN mission and Malian authorities have agreed to a streamlined rotation procedure, according to a MINUSMA spokesperson, Myriam Dessables.

“It is planned that the rotations will start again this Monday”, Ms. Dessables confirmed.

She maintained that “we have put an end to” the contingents contacting us directly.

All requests must now go through MINUSMA, which must validate and transmit them to the country’s Foreign Affairs office by verbal note.

French blue helmets leave Mali

Relations between Mali and troop-contributing countries remain strained.

After nine years, the last French peacekeepers of the Barkhane anti-jihadist force departed on Monday.

Human rights concerns

Meanwhile, Alioune Tine, UN independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali welcomed steps to restore constitutional order and return to civilian rule in the country.

Notwithstanding the measures underway, he pointed a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation amidst violence in the country that has raised grave concerns over the resurgence of extremist.

“The deterioration of the security situation in Mali has a considerable impact on the protection of human rights and the humanitarian situation,” he said.

At the end of a ten-day visit, the UN expert noted the resurgence and frequency of attacks and violence committed by violent extremist groups in the north of the country, in the center and around the capital, Bamako.

“There is a destructive climate marked by suspicion and distrust, with a continuous shrinking of civic space, the hardening of the Malian transitional authorities, and an unease that does not spare international partners,” he observed.

Mr. Tine called on the Malian transitional authorities and international partners to urgently readjust security responses and strategies that have failed to effectively protect civilian populations and their fundamental human rights.

/UN News Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.