Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Human Rights Council - 25th Regular Session

Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Mali
Australian Statement

26 March 2014
 

Australia welcomes the return to constitutional order and the improvement in the overall security situation in Mali.

Improved human rights observance in Mali is inextricably linked to the security situation in the country. In this context, Australia is troubled by reports of terrorists regrouping in the North, and by the upsurge in intra and inter-communal violence in Kidal, Gao and Timbukto.

Australia remains concerned by human rights violations by both armed groups and defence and security forces in Mali. The Independent Expert reports summary executions, enforced disappearances, rapes, looting, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. We support the extension of the mandate of the Independent Expert for a period of one year.

We note the Independent Expert’s views that consolidation of peace in Mali will require reform of the justice and security sectors. We would welcome an elaboration of the Independent Expert’s advice on progressing towards an equitable, credible program for the reform of the security sector, disarmament and the social reintegration of former combatants.

The end of impunity for serious international crimes and other human rights violations is a prerequisite to lasting peace and true reconciliation in Mali. Australia notes the Independent Expert’s observation that the judicial system does not have the capacity or resources to deal with the diversity and complexity of crimes committed in northern Mali. Noting the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction over the situation in Mali, we would be grateful for further views from the Independent Expert on priority areas for national authorities to address.

Australia is also deeply concerned about the impunity enjoyed by alleged perpetrators of sexual violence in Mali. Given the importance for national reconciliation efforts of prosecuting known cases of rape, does the Independent Expert have any advice on what more can be done to prevent sexual violence and overcome the obstacles in the judicial system?