Military must “scrupulously” respect human rights and release civilian leaders

Alioune Tine, independent human rights expert in Mali, said that contrary to reports, President Bah N’Daw and former Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were not released by the army on May 27, but placed under house arrest.

This development follows Mali’s second coup in less than a year.

The ousted president and prime minister were initially detained on Monday, May 24, at the Kati military camp, near the capital, Bamako, along with five other senior civilian and military officials.

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

Last Friday, Mali’s Constitutional Court declared Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the army stroke in August, to be the new interim president.

“I call on the Malian transitional authorities to immediately end the house arrest of these two men and to release three senior military officials from arbitrary detention,” he said. mentionned.

Restoring the rule of law

“I call on all the Malian transitional authorities to scrupulously respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to restore the rule of law.

“The 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,” said the UN expert.

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

Regional implications

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

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

After two coups d’état in Mali in 10 months, Mr. Tine called on national and international actors to strengthen state institutions and the rule of law to avoid recurring crises and ensure respect for all rights humans.

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

“I call on political, military and civil society leaders to exercise restraint and engage in deep dialogue in order to restore lasting peace, stability and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Mali “.

The UN under attack

At the same time, the premises of the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSMA, were targeted on Tuesday by unidentified assailants in Aguelhok, in the Kidal region.

Preliminary reports describe a complex attack involving indirect mortar and small arms fire against a number of MINUSMA sites there.

“The UN peacekeepers retaliated, forcing the attackers to flee. No casualties or material damage were reported on the UN side, ”according to UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujaric.

Unwavering support

At the same time, MINUSMA continues to closely follow political developments in the country and reiterated its commitment to work with ECOWAS and the AU towards a return to constitutional order through free elections. and transparent.

MINUSMA joined ECOWAS in stressing that the transition schedule must be respected and concluded within the agreed 18-month deadline.

“To achieve this goal, the Mission says it is important that the new government, headed by a civilian prime minister, be inclusive and have the broadest possible support,” Dujarric said.

The UN peacekeeping mission also reiterated the demand that house arrest measures be immediately lifted and for the “immediate and unconditional release” of aides and personnel.

“We will continue to support the Malian people, unwavering support, [as it] continues to pursue its efforts to combat insecurity, support the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and help stabilize the country, in accordance with the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the country “Said the spokesperson.

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