Mali: Coup leaders must release president Keita, restore the rule of law, and respect human rights, says UN expert


GENEVA (20 August 2020) –The UN expert on human rights in Mali today condemned the arrest and detention of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in a military coup on 18 August, and called on the coup leaders to release him and members of his government and to protect their physical integrity as well as members of their families.

“I call upon the members of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) to immediately end this illegal detention,” said Alioune Tine, the UN’s independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali.

“I also call upon all Malian authorities to scrupulously respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, to transfer power to civilians as soon as possible, restore the rule of law, and ensure the protection of property and persons,” he said.

He expressed serious concerns at reports that four people were killed and 15 others were injured by the National Guard on the evening of 18 August. All responsible for those human rights violations should be held accountable by competent Malian judicial authorities,” Tine said.

It is significant that this coup started in the garrison town of Kati close to the capital Bamako, as did the March 2012 coup that overthrew Amadou Toumani Touré, sparking a crisis that lasts until today.

“This should prompt all national and international actors to reflect on how to strengthen State structures so we don’t repeat these crises, which result in systematic and continuous violations of human rights against a backdrop of conflicts both within communities and between communities,” he said.

Tine welcomed efforts of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the rest of the international community, including the UN Security Council, to find peaceful political solutions to the crisis in Mali, but said mechanisms need to be strengthened to prevent, manage and resolve crises like this in West Africa.

“I call on everyone in Mali – political, military and civil society leaders – to exercise restraint and to engage in an in-depth dialogue in order to restore lasting peace, stability and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Mali,” he said.


The expert: Mr. Alioune Tine (Senegal) took office as independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali on 1 May 2018. The mandate of independent expert was renewed by the Human Rights Council on 22 June 2020 for a period of one year to assist the Government of Mali in its actions to promote and protect human rights and in the implementation of the recommendations made in Council resolutions. Mr. Tine was a founding member and President of the African Meeting for the Defense of Human Rights (RADDHO) and Coordinator of the Forum of African NGOs at the World Conference against Racism in 2000. Between 2014 and 2018 Mr. Tine was Amnesty International's Regional Director for West and Central Africa. He has published many articles and studies on literature and human rights.

The Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures' experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

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