Mali (Q&A - Excerpt from the daily press briefing - January 16, 2013)
Q : Are you concerned about possible human rights violations in Mali and more specifically about possible reprisals by the Malian army against the Tuareg and Arab populations in the north, as the UN fears? Have there been any arrests and who is monitoring the situation of the prisoners? And a clarification: will the meeting with the NGOs at the Quai d’Orsay on the humanitarian situation taking place today as announced during yesterday’s briefing, or on Thursday as revised by the deputy spokesperson in the evening and has a date now been set for the NGOs in Bamako to meet Ambassador Rouyer?
A : The protection of human rights, the protection of civilians and the fight against impunity are priorities of France’s external action. It will do everything possible to stop the human rights violations throughout Mali and to ensure that no reprisals take place.
We’ve notably been working within the Security Council and the Human Rights Council to ensure that the international community remains fully mobilized. France has sought to ensure that this issue is fully addressed within resolution 2085 authorizing the deployment of an international force to Mali, notably with respect to the recruitment of child soldiers and the violation of women’s rights.
This resolution reaffirms the primary responsibility of the Malian authorities, which have a duty to set an example with respect to the protection of the civilian populations. It also provides for the implementation of a mechanism to monitor compliance with international humanitarian law and respect for human rights, with the submission of periodic reports. France also supports the fact that Mali has referred the situation to the International Criminal Court for investigation of the war crimes.
Regarding your second question, please refer to the Ministry of Defense.
The meeting with the NGOs, devoted to the humanitarian situation in Mali, will take place on Thursday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Crisis Center. Our ambassador in Bamako, Christian Rouyer, is due to receive the NGOs present in Mali, notably to provide them with precautions with respect to vigilance and security.