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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on the Situation in Mali

Thank you very much Mr President and I also want to thank SRSG Wane for his briefing this morning. And Ms. Maiga, I want to welcome your presence as a really strong voice and advocate for women in Mali. Your message, which was thoughtful and forward looking, has really resonated with us this this morning. You have Ireland’s support.


I also want to welcome friend, and colleague, Ambassador Issa Konfourou amongst us.


Mr. President,


The events unfolding in Mali are deeply concerning, we have heard that from several speakers.


Two weeks ago, this Council collectively called for the release of all detained officials. The fact that today, Bah N’Daw and Moctar Ouane remain under house arrest is completely unacceptable. We reiterate our call for their immediate, unconditional, and safe release.


We want to especially welcome the constructive leadership of the region in resolving this crisis. We believe that all parties should strictly adhere to the conditions set out by ECOWAS and the African Union, which call for compliance with the Transition Charter. The transition is intended to be inclusive, and lead to a return to constitutional order and democratic elections within the established 18-month timeline. We also commend the good offices support provided by MINUSMA over recent weeks in difficult circumstances.


The Transition Charter guarantees an inclusive and democratically elected civilian government for the citizens of Mali. These guarantees must be upheld. As set out in the Charter, the Transitional President and Transitional Vice President are not eligible for election in the presidential and legislative elections. We want to see that respected.


Mr. President,


Delaying elections will not help political stability in Mali. We are concerned that, as of yet, no decision has been taken on the establishment of a single electoral management body. We call for this body to be appointed as soon as possible, and it must be independent and inclusive.


We have said it before, but it bears repeating again today: the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation is vital to a just and durable peace in Mali. There can be no doubt in the minds of Malians that this is the case; and no wavering from this path by the leadership of the country.


As the Special Representative said earlier, now is the time to rise above the political challenges in the interests of ordinary Malians and Malian Society.  


We encourage MINUSMA to continue outreach in support of the Peace Agreement, not just at a political level, but also at the local level. Increasing understanding of, and support for, the Agreement will lead to greater buy in and commitment at all levels. On this point, my country Ireland speaks from experience. 


Ms Maiga, I want to thank you again for your powerful call to action.  As I see it gender equality is not about idealism, nor should it be seen as a luxury to be enjoyed only after peace is achieved. It‘s fundamentally a peace and security issue in itself. Gender equality is about the distribution of power in the interests of society as a whole. For that reason, in Mali it’s imperative that civil society space for women is protected and indeed increased, not that women be restricted in the public sphere. I recently met with Malian women and like the Special Representative I have found them engaged and action oriented. Above all, they are courageous.


We believe that Malian Women must be encouraged, supported, and empowered to participate fully in the upcoming elections, both as voters and as candidates on the ballot paper. Their representation is also a critical consideration in the filling of Cabinet positions. Supporting Malian women to assume those responsibilities is in all our interests, above all, in the interests of Mali as a whole.


On that point, I want to underline that women’s political participation is a right, not a request, and we regret that not enough progress has been made. As we heard this morning, we cannot, as Ms. Maiga has said, wait and see.


Mr. President,


We are deeply concerned by the lack of justice afforded to victims and survivors of conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) in Mali. The documentation of CRSV cases remains disturbingly low, we heard that earlier.


We call on MINUSMA to support the Malian authorities in urgently prosecuting perpetrators, and we urge the Malian authorities to adopt legislation on sexual and gender-based violence in compliance with international and regional conventions, and establish specialised prosecutors and police units dedicated to tackle this issue.


Monsieur le Président,


L’impunité pour la violence sexuelle liée au conflit, ainsi pour les violations continues des droits de l’homme commis par plusieurs acteurs au Mali, y compris les forces armées, doit cesser. En tant que contributeur des troupes à la MINUSMA, l’Irlande se félicite du progrès fait par les autorités Maliens en ce qui concerne la première conviction directe pour le meurtre d’un casque bleu. Cela constitue un jalon important et nous encourageons plus de progrès a cet égard.


En plus du soulèvement contre l’autorité politique, ainsi que des besoins humanitaires, l’insécurité continue à aggraver la souffrance des Maliens. Nous sommes préoccupés par l’augmentation des attentats contre des civiles. Cette augmentation souligne la nécessité d’une priorisation de la protection des civiles au sein du mandat de la MINUSMA. Cela démontre aussi qu’il est urgent que les autorités Maliennes prennent des mesures afin de prévenir et de réduire la violence contre les civiles. Les violations persistantes contre les enfants sont extrêmement préoccupantes, et le gouvernement Malien doit s’assurer que les mesures de protections des enfants sont mises en place avec urgence.


Pour conclure, Monsieur le Président,


Nous félicitons la MINUSMA pour son rôle important dans des conditions extrêmement difficiles. Le travail de la Mission est crucial et l’Irlande soutient pleinement le renouvellement de son mandat à la fin du mois.


Cependant, les défis, auxquels le Mali fait face, ne peuvent pas être résolus uniquement par des efforts sécuritaires. Nous devons répondre aux causes premières de l’instabilité. Les élections prochaines présentent une occasion d’inaugurer une nouvelle ère de gouvernance démocratique et inclusive. Je voudrais réitérer le soutien profond de mon pays, l’Irlande, en accompagnant le Mali dans ces efforts.


Merci, Monsieur le Président.

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