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

Geneva / Bamako (3 October 2014) - 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.

Mr. Suliman Baldo (Sudan) took up his functions as UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali on 1 August 2013. In that capacity, he acts independently from any Government or organization. The mandate of the Independent Expert was renewed by the Human Rights Council in 15 April 2014 for a period of one year, to assist the Government of Mali in its efforts to promote and protect human rights and to act upon the Human Rights Council’s recommendations.

Mr. Baldo was previously the Africa director at the International Centre for Transitional Justice in New York. In 2011, he served as one of the three commissioners of the International Commission of Inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire established by the Human Rights Council to investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Côte d’Ivoire during the post-electoral violence.

UN Human Rights, country page – Mali: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/MLIndex.aspx

For additional information and media requests, please contact Martin Seutcheu (+41 +41 79 444 3702/ mseutcheu@ohchr.org). In Bamako (during the visit) Guillaume Ngefa (Tel: +223 79879118)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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