Mali is facing its worst human rights crisis [press release] since it gained independence in 1960, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy report] reported Wednesday. In a report [text, PDF], "Mali: Five months of crisis, armed rebellion and military coup," AI claims that hundreds of thousands of citizens have been displaced while dozens have been subjected to arbitrary detention, extrajudicial executions or sexual violence. After a three-week research mission to the country, AI concluded that all parties to the conflict are committing rights violations:
Amnesty International calls upon all parties in this conflict to respect international humanitarian law and, in particular, asks them not to attack civilians, nor people who have laid down their arms or have been taken out of action. The organization calls upon Malian authorities to put an end, without delay, to the harassment of those who campaign peacefully for the return to the rule of law.AI also called for an end to sexual violence and the use of child soldiers.
Last month Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a similar report claiming that all sides to the conflict are committing war crimes [JURIST report]. Earlier in April the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] said they are monitoring the situation [JURIST report] for potential crimes under the ICC's jurisdiction. They noted that Mali has ratified the Rome Statute [text], which gives the ICC jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity that may have occurred since fighting began in January. The turmoil began when Taureg rebels attacked Malian soldiers [Al Jazeera report]. Many in the international community have expressed concern over the situation, including the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) [JURIST reports]. All of this has come after Malian soldiers took control of the government [JURIST report] and suspended the constitution in March.