New Mali law risks giving rise to impunity for many past human rights violations, says UN expert

GENEVA (10 September 2019) – I encourage the authorities in Mali to promptly revise the country’s new law of “national understanding” which if left unaltered may prevent victims of many serious human rights violations getting fair and equitable justice, says the UN Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the country, Alioune Tine.

“The law as it stands may not only promote impunity for many of those responsible for serious human rights violations, but may also help to circumvent the traditional justice process and mechanisms and prevent many victims of serious violations from exercising their rights to fair and equitable justice, to obtain reparation and to know the truth about the violations committed in the past,” said Tine.

At the end of his last mission to Mali in February 2019, Tine had welcomed the Government’s decision to submit the draft law to a broad and inclusive consultation.

“This step was imperative before the National Assembly considered the measure so that it could take into account the concerns expressed by Malian human rights organisations,” he said.

However, the independent expert believes that the law of national understanding as it appeared in the official journal on 24 July could result in situations allowing impunity for many serious human rights violations and should therefore be amended.


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 23 March 2018 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.

See recent reports from the Independent Expert.

The Independent Experts 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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