On 25 April, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution establishing a peacekeeping mission to Mali. The resolution condemns human rights abuses, including widespread rape and violence against women, which have been reported in Mali’s northern region and calls for prosecution of the perpetrators.
Mali’s security has deteriorated in the months following the March 2012 military coup. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that there are 282 000 displaced people within Mali, while a further 175 000 have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees. According to projections, another 45 500 people will likely seek refuge in Mauritania, Burkina Faso, or Niger before the end of the year. UNHCR also reports that the ongoing conflict and massive displacement of people have given rise to at least 2785 documented cases of gender violence. Under the MUJAO, an extremist Islamic group, this includes forced marriage, forced sex work, beatings, executions, or rape, often as punishment for perceived indiscretions. Save the Children also recounted interviews with Malian girls who had witnessed the rapes and murders of their friends, at the hands of armed men. UNHCR spokesman Eduardo Cue noted that the prevalence of gender violence in the Malian conflict is likely drastically underreported.
The Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, or MINUSMA, will consist of 12 600 peacekeepers who will begin arriving on 1 July. The mission will have a mandate to use “all necessary means” to protect civilians, stabilize the country, and provide the conditions for humanitarian aid. UN Security Council Resolution 2100 also noted that the office of the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court has now opened a file on the abuses ongoing in Mali.
Little Support, No Justice for Mali Rape Survivors, IRIN News, 6 May 2013.
UN approves peacekeeping force for Mali, CBC News, 26 April 2013.
Security Council unanimously approves new UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, UN News Centre, 25 April 2013.