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Human Rights Council 31, Geneva: UK statement on Mali

United Kingdom statement during the Interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on Mali, Human Rights Council 31st session, 21 March 2016.

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

Thank you, Mr President.

The UK thanks the Independent Expert on Mali for his work and his report.

We welcome progress made finding a political solution to the conflict. However, this comes at the same time as the security situation across the country has deteriorated considerably. We believe that fully implementing the peace agreement is the best way to improve the human rights situation and reduce the space for terrorists and organised criminals.

Restoring basic services and security to the whole country remains the greatest challenge. Their absence, particularly in the northern regions, allow terrorists and criminals to commit human rights abuses against civilians with impunity. We welcome the Government’s proposal to implement mobile counselling centres, but call on all signatories to give transitional justice and human rights protection the same status as other parts of the peace deal.

The report highlights the considerable human rights challenges facing Mali. We are concerned at the lack of progress on tackling impunity for human rights violations and abuses.. This includes the release of suspects of war crimes and terrorist attacks under the guise of ‘confidene building measures’ with armed groups. Justice for the victims, their families and communities is an important element for the national peacebuilding process.

We are also concerned about sexual violence committed by the security forces and others. We urge the Government to denounce and tackle this and other forms of discrimination and violence against women, including spousal abuse and female genital mutilation.

Mr Independent Expert,

Which areas should be prioritised by the Government of Mali to improve the human rights situation?.

Thank you, Mr President.

Published 29 March 2016