Statement at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Mali
Statement07 April 2022
I would like to thank SRSG Wane for his briefing this morning and for MINUSMA’s continued work in an increasingly challenging environment. The Mission’s work on the protection of civilians and human rights monitoring and reporting has never been more vital. I would also like to extend my thanks ECOWAS and the African Union for their continued work in pursuit of lasting peace and stability in Mali.
I welcome, President, also Ms. Samaké’s presence here as a strong advocate for women in Mali and thank her for her important and informative briefing.
As we have heard, by almost every metric the situation in Mali continues to deteriorate at an alarming rate. We are deeply disturbed by the increasing reports of killings of civilians, human rights violations and abuses, and violations of international humanitarian law. Unrest and humanitarian need, including an unprecedented food crisis, continues to grow as the transition process and implementation of the peace agreement remain stalled.
The reports of a massacre in the village of Moura last week, following a counter terrorism operation by the Malian Armed Forces, are frankly horrifying. We offer our sincere condolences to the families of those killed.
There must be a thorough and transparent investigation into these allegations. We note the intention of the public prosecutor of the Mopti military court to open an investigation. Nonetheless, MINUSMA must be granted unfettered, timely, and safe access to Moura to conduct a full investigation and to take action to ensure the protection of civilians. Those responsible for these and other violations and abuses must be brought to justice, regardless of affiliation or nationality.
As others have said, Human rights violations serve only to drive radicalisation and contribute to the growth of terrorism and violent extremism. We call on the Malian authorities to tackle impunity and to ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with international law.
We are also increasingly concerned about reports of the presence of the Wagner Group in Mali. Their presence can only serve to fuel existing tensions, increase instability and violence, and impede MINUSMA’s efforts to protect civilians and provide support to the Malian armed forces.
We are also seriously concerned by the increased number of civilian casualties as a result of attacks by armed extremist groups in the Tri Border area and welcome the investigation of these attacks by MINUSMA.
There can be no doubt that civilians, including children, are bearing the brunt of sustained political tensions and insecurity in Mali. The 57% increase in violations against children documented in the Secretary General’s report is simply unconscionable.
It is also deeply troubling that violations and abuses against women and girls, including conflict-related sexual violence, persist at a high rate and continue to be under-reported. We urge holistic and integrated action to address gender equality and in particular to address the stigma of sexual and gender based violence and deliver justice to survivors.
We condemn the ongoing and totally unacceptable attacks against peacekeepers by all parties. MINUSMA must be allowed to do its job to protect the Malian people.
We call on the authorities to create a protective environment for civilians and MINUSMA, including by ensuring that all security actors operating on Malian territory respect the Status of Forces Agreement and ensure the safety and security of UN personnel.
We are convinced that the 2015 Peace Agreement remains a critical framework for ensuring lasting peace and stability in Mali. We are concerned at the slow progress of implementation of the Agreement and urge all parties to accelerate action in this regard.
Finally, we call on the transitional authorities to agree an acceptable timeline for the return to constitutional order and the holding of elections. Immediate action must be taken on essential reforms to facilitate a rapid return to democratic governance and lay the foundations to guide the long term stability and sustainable development that the Malian people so richly deserve.