The conflict in Mali and its consequences on civilians

A Malian soldier stands guard at a Timbuktu market. Mali's president has sought peace talks with Tuareg rebels but many fear the Malian army will seek scapegoats once the French leave. A Malian soldier stands guard at a Timbuktu market. Mali's president has sought peace talks with Tuareg rebels but many fear the Malian army will seek scapegoats once the French leave. © Photograph: Benoit Tessier/Reuters

The Center for Civilians in Conflict’s report “Fending for Ourselves” details the three year conflict in Mali and its impact on civilians since January 2012.


Northern civilians have suffered harm, widespread fear and social disintegration while demanding justice and action.Malian citizens are demanding access to human rights and justice as Mali’s three year conflict continues. The conflict began in 2012 when the Malian government lost control of many of its territories to Islamic extremists, especially in northern Mali. Even after the French-led intervention restored Mali’s government in early 2013, conflict-related harm to civilians has grown as tensions increase between Islamic extremist groups and the Malian army and UN Forces that still occupy the north.

During occupation, extremist groups imposed strict Sharia law across the north when several armed groups launched a rebellion against the Malian government with hopes of gaining independence for northern Mali.. The UN reports that 33 citizens were executed during this time, including 16 Islamic preachers.

After the French-led intervention to reclaim the north, the Malian army re-established a presence in parts of the region. Civilian reports of abuses still continued, including civilians being executed for being assumed members of Islamic extremist groups. Civilians are still suffering from improvised explosive devices, landmines and explosive remnants of war as the fighting continues between the Malian army and extremist groups. Dozens of civilians have been reported killed by explosives.

The report documents that Malian civilians are demanding access to human rights and justice. The majority of interviewed civilians want the Malian government to regain authority and credibility in north, but demand that peace treaties be respected. Many northern civilians are afraid to turn to the government for fear of being wrongfully associated with or identified by extremist groups.  

The Center for Civilians in Conflict recommends that all parties in the conflict adhere to international legal standards, including human rights and humanitarian law. They also suggest adopting policies, practices and tools to ensure that all troops understand, minimize and properly address civilian harm resulting from the conflict.

 

To read the full report, visit:

http://civiliansinconflict.org/uploads/files/publications/Civilian_Impact_of_Mali_3-Year_Conflict_small.pdf

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