UN rights expert urges Mali military to free civilian leaders, respect human rights


A UN human rights expert called on Mali’s new military authorities to “scrupulously respect human rights” and release former President Bah N’Daw and former Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, who remain under house arrest.

Contrary to earlier reports, N’Daw and Ouane were not set free on May 27, but were only moved to their houses from a military camp.

“I call upon Malian transitional authorities to immediately end the house arrest of these two men and to release three senior military officials from arbitrary detention,” said Alioune Tine, UN independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali.

In Mali’s second coup in less than a year, the ousted president and prime minister were detained on Monday May 24 and held at Kati military camp near the capital, Bamako, together with five other top civilian and military officials.

Only two of the five officials have been released to date, Mr. Tine said, before endorsing the call of West African bloc ECOWAS for new presidential elections in February 2022.

Last Friday, Mali’s constitutional court declared Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military coup in August, to be the new interim president.

“Malian authorities must lift the house arrest of these two individuals and allow the remaining detainees to communicate with their families and lawyers and to receive visits”, underscored the UN expert.

He also maintained that Mali must allow human rights officers from the UN mission MINUSMA, as well as representatives of national human rights institutions and organizations, to visit them.

The independent expert said Mali must form an inclusive government to move the country – now suspended from ECOWAS institutions – back to constitutional order and rule of law.

The African Union (AU) has also reportedly suspended the country’s membership.

After two coups in Mali within 10 months, Mr. Tine called for national and international actors to strengthen State institutions and the rule of law to avoid repeated crises and to ensure respect for all human rights.

However, he said the main responsibility lies with Malians themselves.

“I call on political, military and civil society leaders to exercise restraint and to engage in an in-depth dialogue in order to restore lasting peace, stability and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Mali”. (Source: UN News)