Mali: risk of infection by jihadists in West Africa, according to UN expert

The security situation in this western part of Africa is deteriorating, and the threat is also affecting countries that do not share a common border with Mali, warned Alioon Tin, an independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali.

Benin, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire… the jihadist violence that has ravaged the Central Sahel region for years is increasingly spreading to the coastal countries of the Gulf of Guinea.

Speaking before the UN Human Rights Council, the independent expert pointed out that “the security situation in the region is deteriorating”, noting that “this is no longer an accident.” “Benin is beginning to be attacked, Togo, as well as the northern part of Ghana. In Senegal, we are also talking about this on the side of Kayes,” said Mr. Tine.

The destabilization in Mali will not be limited to the geographical borders of the country or the Sahel region.

One of the most troubling indicators is the fact that violence in Mali is spreading so rapidly that it “threatens the very survival of the state.” “Given the strategic position of Mali, the future of the entire Sahel region and beyond is at stake,” the expert notes in his report.

As the experience of other countries has shown, the consequences of destabilization in Mali will not be limited to the country’s geographic boundaries or the Sahel region, Mr. Tine continued. Under these conditions, “the international community, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should think about appropriate solutions to resolve the security situation.

“It seems to me that today there is something to do on the issue of security in the (West African) sub-region,” the UN independent expert insisted.

This constant and alarming deterioration in the situation requires the international community to rethink, in cooperation with Mali and all parties affected by the Malian crisis, the security and political responses to the challenges facing Bamako. Thus, it is about taking “more appropriate measures” to help the Malian authorities “restore security throughout Mali.”

Act so that the geostrategic shift promotes stability

“I encourage Mali’s partners to act so that the current geopolitical and geostrategic shift does not contribute to exacerbating political tensions and instability, but contributes to the strengthening of peace, stability and security in Mali,” Mr. Tine said, also calling on ECOWAS to lift sanctions against Mali.

According to the expert, the current response to insecurity in Mali is no longer suitable, in particular for the security of civilians and their fundamental rights, which should form the basis of security strategies in Mali and the Sahel. “We must recognize the need to find more suitable alternative solutions in an atmosphere of dialogue with all stakeholders and calm, in order to enhance the strengthening of security and avoid any isolation that could have an adverse effect on the crisis. Mali.

More broadly, the collapse of Malian institutions increases the threat of attacks on civilians by violent extremist groups and unidentified gunmen whose modus operandi is similar to violent extremist groups. In this regard, he indicated that the latter continue to strengthen their presence and control in the localities of Gao, Menaka and Timbuktu (in the north of the country) and Bandiagara, Duentza, Mopti, San and Segou (in the center of the country). ), and extend its activities to the areas of Kita, Koulikoro, Koutiala and Sikasso (in southern Mali).

Mali reaffirms its commitment to the peace agreement reached as a result of the Algiers Process

Violent extremist groups are responsible for almost 65% of killings, injuries and kidnappings of civilians in the second half of 2021. Mr. Tine also expressed grave concern at allegations of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the defense and security forces of Mali. strength. In view of the alarming human rights situation, the expert emphasized the urgent need to end the hellish cycle of impunity.

As a concerned country, Mali, through its Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Privy Mamoudou Kassoga, has declared that it is fully aware of its primary responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights and reaffirmed its commitment to respecting them despite the many challenges facing Bamako.

With regard to the situation in central Mali, the still precarious security situation has made it impossible to maintain a judicial administration in several localities. With regard to the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement resulting from the Algiers Process, Bamako reaffirmed the commitment of the government and the signatory movements to “good faith and reasonable implementation” while accelerating the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process.

NOTE:

Special rapporteurs and independent experts are part of the so-called special procedures of the Human Rights Council. The Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the United Nations human rights system, is the collective name for the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either country-specific situations or thematic issues in all regions of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not employees of the UN and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

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