Mali Human Rights

General Country Conditions

The Republic of Mali is home to more than 15 million people. Malians face numerous challenges relating to poverty and insecurity. Mali ranks 176 out of 187 countries in the UN Human Development Index. The average life expectancy is less than 57 years, and the mortality rate for children under five is 123 per 1,000 live births.


Mali experienced a coup and armed conflict in 2012. Civilian control of the government was restored and elections were held in 2013. In 2013, a peace agreement was also signed between the Malian government and several armed groups in Burkina Faso. However, the north of the country remains unstable, with parts of it beyond the control of the Malian authorities. Furthermore, violent clashes and attacks on civilians continue.


Human Rights Concerns

Abuses by armed groups, impunity, and the death penalty are some of the numerous human rights concerns in Mali. Security forces and non-state armed groups have engaged in the excessive use of force. Journalists, UN peacekeepers, International Committee of the Red Cross workers, and civilians have been killed in attacks. During a protest in 2015, UN police officers used excessive force against protesters, killing three people.


There have also been allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners alleged to have connections to the armed conflict. At least two such detainees died in custody in Bamako during 2014 due to lack of medical care. Prison conditions throughout Mali are poor and threaten the health of inmates and detainees.


The government has begun to tackle the issue of impunity and made some progress, notably in the case of the enforced disappearance of more than 20 soldiers in April 2012. A total of 28 people were arrested and charged in 2014, including General Amadou Sanogo, leader of the military junta that ruled Mali for part of 2012, and General Ibrahim Dahirou Dembélé, former Chief of Staff. Few prosecutions were brought in connection with other cases of enforced disappearances and there were long delays in bringing to justice those responsible for committing human rights violations in the context of the conflict. Some cases, notably the disappearance of 11 men in Timbuktu in February 2013, were yet to be investigated.


No executions had been carried out in Mali for several decades, but death sentences continue to be imposed.

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