News from Africa

Leading UN human rights official to visit Mali


Té / 4 October 2012

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović will visit Mali from 5 to 8 October 2012 to undertake an assessment of the human rights situation in the country, and to identify areas for potential cooperation between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Government of Mali.

During his four-day mission, Šimonović will meet with senior government and UN officials, the national human rights commission and a wide range of civil society actors. He also plans to travel to Mopti, a town some 450 kilometres north-east of the capital Bamako, where he will meet with displaced people and civil society groups which have had access to, or fled from, the crisis-stricken northern regions and some of its worst-hit towns such as Timbuktu and Gao.

In a recent report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay outlined a host of human rights abuses and alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Northern Mali carried out by groups such as the Movement for the Unity of the Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Ansar Dine.

Such violations have included amputations, the stoning to death of an unmarried couple, summary executions, recruitment of child soldiers, as well as violations of women’s rights, children’s rights, freedom of expression, the rights to food, health, education, to freedom of religion and belief, and cultural rights. Pillay also called for urgent national and international action to bring an end to the political instability that has been fuelling the violence.

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 4, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)

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