Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ravina Shamdasani, dennounces Mali situation

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We welcome the signing in Bamako last Saturday of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation by the rebel Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA) group.

Particularly welcome is the stipulation in the agreement that amnesty law may not be passed for serious human rights violations. International law and UN policy are clear that amnesties are not permissible if they prevent prosecutions of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and gross violations of human rights. Any amnesty may also not restrict the rights of victims to an effective remedy and reparation. In a similar vein, we welcome the proposed establishment of an international commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of such crimes. For any peace to be sustainable, justice and accountability must be prioritized.

We urge all parties to ensure that the agreement is implemented in good faith. Our office will continue to provide advice to the international follow-up committee (comité de suivi et d’évaluation) on human rights issues, as well as providing assistance to the Government of Mali on transitional justice, justice sector reform and other relevant areas.

We hope that the Malian people, who have suffered grave human rights abuses and violations over the past three years, will be able to see immediate results, with an end to fighting, killings, arbitrary arrests and mass displacement. While major security challenges remain in the far north of the country due to the existence of violent extremist groups and drug traffickers, the peace deal ought to bring some measure of calm, some restoration of law and order, and enable badly-needed economic development.