June 20, 2024

Ambassador Richard Mills: Malian authorities should demonstrate commitment to Algiers Accord and tackle human rights

Ambassador Richard Mills
Ambassador Richard Mills

Malian authorities need to demonstrate their commitment to the Algiers Accord and tackle human rights, Ambassador Richard Mills, Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations, said at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Mali on Monday, June 13.

“As we discuss MINUSMA’s support to the people of Mali, I have three key messages today,” Mills said. “First, the success of any peacekeeping mission hinges on the commitment of the parties to advance and pursue sustainable political solutions. As the Council has stated previously, it is urgent that the Malian authorities demonstrate their commitment to implement the Algiers Accord. We regret to note that the Algiers Accord Monitoring Committee has not met since October.”

He added, “It is equally urgent that the Malian authorities restore constitutional rule by holding timely elections, and we welcome ECOWAS’ continued engagement with Malian authorities to support efforts to restore constitutional rule. We encourage the transition government to continue to be responsive to ECOWAS. The United States acknowledges the announcement by Mali’s transition government of a 24-month transition timetable starting in March 2022. We do not endorse this timeline as final, but acknowledge that it responds to this Council’s call for a clear and unambiguous commitment to a transition timeline. We urge Mali and ECOWAS to reach agreement in particular on a robust monitoring mechanism with tangible benchmarks for the remainder of the transition. Transparent and inclusive processes that respect diverse perspectives and freedoms will be critical to build a strong foundation for the future.

“Second, we are deeply troubled by the recent MINUSMA-OHCHR report detailing the human rights crisis in Mali. The report documents a dramatic increase in human rights violations and abuses against civilians by both terrorist groups and the Malian armed forces with “foreign security personnel,” otherwise known to most of the world as the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group forces. Malian authorities are fully responsible for the actions of their security partners. Last March, reports emerged about the horrific massacre and mass graves in Moura. Malian authorities still have refused to allow MINUSMA access to the site to conduct an independent investigation. This is unacceptable. MINUSMA must have immediate access to all sites of reported attacks to conduct the investigations that are mandated by this very Council.

“The alarming increase in allegations of human rights abuses and violations is exactly why the United States continues to warn countries against partnering with the Russian-backed Wagner Group. Wagner Group forces are widely reported to commit egregious human rights abuses everywhere they deploy. Wagner will not bring peace to Mali. Instead, Wagner will only divert natural and economic resources away from Mali’s fight against terrorism.

“Third and last, Madam President, Mali must allow MINUSMA to do its job. As the Council stated previously, the transitional government must respect the Status of Forces Agreement. Restricting MINUSMA flights, movements, or access – especially over vast swaths of Central Mali – limits MINUSMA’s ability to anticipate, deter, and effectively respond to threats and to protect civilians. MINUSMA’s inability to fully operate due to Mali’s restrictions leaves Mali vulnerable. We urge the transition government to fully support and coordinate with MINUSMA. The mission is there specifically at the request of Malian authorities to help extend state authority, mitigate intercommunal violence, and deter the ability of terrorists to harm civilians.

“The United States stands ready to continue our support for the people of Mali and for MINUSMA. We are committed to the stability and the security of Mali and the Sahel region.”

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