Human rights: UN Independent Expert to conduct third visit to Mali

By United Nations - Office of the UN High Commissione

GENEVA, Switzerland, October 3, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, Suliman Baldo, will carry out his third official visit to Mali from 8 – 17 October 2014. This visit takes place against the backdrop of the fragile security situation in the north of the country and the re-launch of the Algiers Peace Process, which intends to find a peaceful and lasting settlement to the Malian crisis.

“In view of the recent wave of releases of detainees who were involved in the armed conflict, including some who are suspected or accused of international crimes, my visit will afford me the opportunity to hear more of the victim's perspective to this crisis,” Mr. Baldo said.

“Let me recall an African proverb which says that, when the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. In the case of Mali, the grass symbolises the victims of this crisis, who paid a heavy price, and feel excluded from the political and judicial process, which seems more favourable to the political actors who were the source of mayhem,” he added.

At the presentation of his last report to the Human Rights Council on 25 March 2014, Mr. Suliman Baldo affirmed that “ … since independence, impunity constitutes one the main causes of the recurring crisis in northern Mali.”

“This vicious cycle has to be broken as we will not be able to achieve durable peace without justice. Previous peace accords responded more to the demands and needs of the principal protagonists to the conflict than to the requirement for justice, for reparations and for guarantees of a non-repetition,” the human rights expert concluded.

During his ten-day mission, Mr. Baldo would meet members of the Malian government, the judiciary, the security services, the Presidency of the Malian National Commission on Human Rights as well as the Secretary General of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission. He will also meet with representatives of non-governmental organisations, religious leaders, the diplomatic community and the United Nations Country Team in Mali.

The Independent Expert is scheduled to make unannounced calls to places of detention across Mali and also visit northern Mali.

At the end of his visit, the press will have an opportunity to interact with the Independent Expert to discuss his preliminary observations, findings and recommendations. Further information on this meeting with the media will be released in the coming days.

The Independent Expert is expected to present the findings of his third mission to the 28th Session of the Human Rights Council in March 2015.