UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has condemned ongoing human rights violations in northern Mali and called on the government and the international community to address the crisis.
Pillay cited “credible reports” that armed groups occupying northern Mali have been violating human rights and possibly committing war crimes. She elaborated, “These include cruel punishments, such as amputations, the stoning to death of an unmarried couple, summary executions, recruitment of child soldiers, as well as violations of women’s rights, children’s rights, freedom of expression, the rights to food, health, education, to freedom of religion and belief, and cultural rights.”
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported that at least seven men have suffered punitive amputations at the hands of the Movement for the Unity of the Jihad in West Africa. UNICEF has warned that armed groups are recruiting children.
Fighting between Malian government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in the northern part of the country in January. Over 250,000 Malians have fled the instability into neighbouring countries; an estimated 174,000 Malians are thought to be internally displaced.
Photograph: Gabriel Galwak/UN News Centre