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UN genocide adviser warns of increased risk of ethnic violence in Mali

UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng [official profile] on Friday warned of an increased risk of reprisal attacks [press release, PDF] against ethnic Tuareg and Arab civilian populations in the northern regions of Mali. When fighting broke out between government forces and Tuareg rebels in January, the president declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] as thousands were forced to flee the fighting. Dieng was particularly concerned [UN News Centre report] over allegations of human rights violations committed by the Malian army and reports of mob lynching and looting of properties belonging to Arab and Tuareg communities. Dieng concluded his statement by urging all actors, including the Malian army, to adhere to international humanitarian and human rights laws.

Mali has drawn increased international scrutiny recently, particularly from the UN as more reports of political violence and human rights abuses come to light. Last week International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda [official profile] warned [JURIST report] the Malian government over reports of human rights abuses by Malian forces. In the statement, Bensouda urged Malian authorities to put an immediate stop to the alleged abuses and to investigate and prosecute those responsible. Bensouda announced in January that her office has launched an investigation [JURIST report] into possible war crimes committed in Mali. Mali has drawn increased international scrutiny recently regarding political violence and alleged human rights abuses. Earlier that month, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a report saying that the tumultuous situation in Mali has led to human rights violations [JURIST report].

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