Mali security situation on critical threshold, UN human rights expert warns


A UN human rights expert has found that the security situation has now reached a critical level in Mali, with a limited presence of State institutions in some areas, unprecedented incidents of violence across communal lines, and increasingly deadly terror attacks against the security forces as well as civilians.

“I am gravely concerned at the continuing deterioration of the overall security situation, which has now reached a critical threshold,” said Alioune Tine, the UN Independent Expert on the human rights after a 10-day visit to the country.

“It is time to recognise the inadequacy of the current security responses so Mali can move to more appropriate alternatives as soon as possible. The prolonged failure and lack of presence of state institutions in many areas, along with the dire political, economic and social climate, are causing more and more frustration and resentment among the population,” she added.

The expert also highlighted worsening levels of violence, robbery, rape and kidnapping in Timbuktu, and said a resurgence of transnational crime was threatening social cohesion and was going unpunished.

Between August 2017 and September 2019, there were 101 security incidents resulting in 94 deaths, as well as seven kidnappings and 21 carjackings. Sexual violence is also at a high level, with 956 reported cases between January and October 2019 – 43% of them allegedly carried out by armed groups – according to UN figures.

“The victims’ organisations I met expressed fears about an explosion of community tensions, which is the consequence of difficulties encountered in accessing basic social services and humanitarian aid,” said Tine.

Tine said the security situation was also gradually worsening in the central and southern regions of Ségou, Kayes and Koulikoro, but he had been told of a marked improvement in Kidal in recent months. (Source: OHCHR)