GENEVA (14 June 2019) - Alioune Tine, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, says continuing deadly attacks on civilians in certain areas of the country could be described as crimes against humanity and urged stronger protection of people and property.
Tine made the remarks following the weekend attack on the Dogon village of Sobanou-Kou in central Mali’s Mopti region. He said he had received reports of many people killed and injured, as well as dozens abducted, with high numbers of women and children among the victims. Investigations by the authorities are continuing and further details, including exact casualty figures, will be available soon, Tine said.
The expert said the Sobanou-Kou attack on 9 June which continued overnight is part of an intensification of the deadly cycle of violence in central Mali, and these attacks are regularly carried out against civilian populations.
"Impunity for these crimes gives the perpetrators a sense of immunity – and these human rights abuses, documented almost every week for more than a year, could be characterised as crimes against humanity."
He said he welcomed the government’s quick response to the attacks on civilians in the Mopti region, including incidents on 1 January and 23 March in Fulani villages, as well as others in the area.
"However, I urge the Malian authorities to take more preventive measures to protect civilians, including the establishment of a stronger security presence in the centre of the country, the disarmament and the immediate dissolution of all armed militias, and conduct of effective judicial investigations to bring perpetrators to justice," Tine said. "I would like to stress the absolute necessity, with the support of all concerned partners, to further strengthen the security of people and property in these areas exposed to this spiral of violence."
He said a comprehensive and coordinated approach is needed to prevent further violence and to tackle the problem in a sustainable way.
"I appeal to civil society, traditional and religious leaders, and also to the international community and the regional authorities, to discharge their respective responsibilities."** **
Mr. Alioune Tine (Senegal) took office as independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali on 1 May 2018. The mandate of independent expert was renewed by the Human Rights Council on 23 March 2018 for a period of one year to assist the Government of Mali in its actions to promote and protect human rights and in the implementation of the recommendations made in Council resolutions . Mr. Tine was a founding member and President of the African Meeting for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO) and Coordinator of the Forum of African NGOs at the World Conference against Racism in 2000. Between 2014 and 2018 Mr. Tine was Amnesty International's Regional Director for West and Central Africa. He has published many articles and studies on literature and human rights. For recent reports from the Independent Expert.
The independent experts are part of what is known as the 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 general term applied to the Council's independent investigative and monitoring mechanisms that address specific situations. countries or thematic issues around the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not part of the UN staff and they do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent of governments and organizations and perform their functions independently.