Mali: New project makes the fight against impunity a priority
It is being implemented with financial support from the European Union
Today, Lawyers without Borders Canada (ASFC), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Malian Association for Human Rights (AMDH), and Amnesty International announce the launch of a new project that aims to bolster the fight against impunity in Mali.
Our organisations recognise the essential role that the fight against impunity plays in addressing the rights of victims and the protection of local populations. Our organisations endeavour to improve the security situation by contributing our expertise to ongoing human rights protection efforts in the country.
The fight against impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes needs to be ramped up so that victims can have access to the truth and can obtain justice and reparation, so that the high-level leaders responsible for these abuses are duly punished, and so that Malians can continue the peace and reconciliation process.
Financed by the European Union for a total budget of 2 million euros (more than 1.3 billion FCFA), this new project is structured around four main components:
- The documentation of international crimes and the most serious cases of human rights violations;
- Legal support for victims;
- Advocacy with the State and national, regional and international bodies;
- Human rights education for the fight against impunity
This project, implemented with the cooperation of both civil society actors and the international community, provides an opportunity to work with a broad range of actors in Mali and to push for the fight against impunity for crimes under international law to remain a political and judicial priority.
As we support victims, including those of sexual crimes, before the Malian justice system, we have observed that these procedures have so far resulted in only a few trials. We call on the Malian authorities to strengthen their efforts to ensure that the perpetrators of abuses, from the period of occupation from 2012-2013 until today, are prosecuted and tried for their crimes.
Since 2012, serious human rights violations and abuses, some of which can be qualified as crimes under international law, have been committed in Mali. Civilians, including children, are victims of killings and sexual violence. Many legal proceedings have been opened against members of the Malian armed forces and other armed groups.
While investigations have been opened, few of the proceedings result in trials and impunity is all too often the rule. Judicial processes must thus be encouraged and facilitated so that the perpetrators of the most serious crimes are brought to justice.
Within the framework of this project, Amnesty International will work exclusively to contribute to raising awareness among the population, and in particular among young people, on the issue of the fight against impunity. This approach should lead to greater mobilisation to make progress in this area with the authorities and, in the long term, to establish a culture that fully respects human rights.
Coupled with the restoration of basic social services such as education and health, the fight against impunity is a fundamental pillar of human rights and security in Mali. Our organisations emphasise our engagement and support for strengthening the justice system in Mali in collaboration with civil society and Malian institutions to ensure that the system respects human rights.
In his dedication for the official launch ceremony of this project on 4 February 2021, EU Ambassador to Mali, Mr Bart Ouvry, stated: “The fight for stability and a return to lasting peace in Mali is not only won in the field of security. And it cannot be won without the support of the Malian people, in full respect of their rights. This is a requirement for the Malian people, in order that they may regain confidence in their institutions and in the forces that ensure their security. This is why the fight against impunity must be at the heart of the Malian authorities' commitments, and not only those of the partners who accompany them.”
The fight for stability and a return to lasting peace in Mali is not only won in the field of security. And it cannot be won without the support of the Malian people, in full respect of their rights. This is a requirement for the Malian people, in order that they may regain confidence in their institutions and in the forces that ensure their security. This is why the fight against impunity must be at the heart of the Malian authorities' commitments, and not only those of the partners who accompany them.
About our organisations
ASFC is a non-governmental international cooperation organisation whose mission is to support the defence of the human rights of people in situations of vulnerability by strengthening access to justice and legal representation.
FIDH is an international human rights NGO federating 192 organisations from 117 countries. Since 1922, FIDH has been defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
AMDH is the member organisation in Mali who works with focal points in nine different regions of the country. Amnesty International is a global movement of more than seven million people working to ensure that the fundamental rights of every individual are respected.
Amnesty International's vision is of a world where everyone can enjoy all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights documents.