The information below is based on the Report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict (A/70/836–S/2016/360) issued on 20 April 2016.
Notwithstanding the peace accord signed by the Government, the Platform coalition of armed groups and the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad in May and June, clashes between the parties in northern Mali continued in the middle of 2015. The period was also marked by an increase in violent extremist and asymmetric attacks. In total, 109 verified and 128 unverified grave violations were reported.
A total of 127 cases of recruitment and use of children by armed groups were received, with 30 verified. In addition, 27 cases of recruitment and use of children by the Groupe d’autodefense des Touaregs Imghad et leurs alliés were verified in March 2016 in Ineggar, Gao region, and 47 other alleged cases were received. As at 31 December, of the 32 children arrested on security charges, 4 remained in detention in Bamako and Koulikoro. The United Nations continued to collaborate with the Malian authorities to ensure the implementation of the handover protocol signed in 2013. In addition, it documented cases of 14 children held by armed groups.
The United Nations verified the killing of 12 children and the maiming of 39 during rocket attacks and crossfire, as well as by improvised explosive device attacks and explosive remnants of war. While the identification of the perpetrators was not always possible, CMA was reportedly involved in at least two attacks. In one incident, two boys were lynched, dismembered and burned by a mob on suspicion of being associated with armed groups and participating in an attack.
A total of 22 cases of rape and other forms of sexual violence against children were verified, comprising 3 by the Malian defence and security forces, 1 by the Platform and 18 by unknown perpetrators.
Four attacks and threats of attacks on schools and protected personnel were verified, including one by CMA and one by the Front de libération du Macina. Following the killing of a village leader by the latter group in Dogo, Mopti region, reportedly for seeking the authorities’ support after he had been told to close secular schools, the group threatened teachers in six local communes, leading to the closure of 93 schools. The number of schools used for military purposes by armed groups had dropped from 20 in 2014 to 7 by December.
The operational environment remained extremely volatile and targeted attacks against humanitarian personnel and facilities contributed to the disruption of the delivery of assistance. In a verified incident, CMA forced an international medical non-governmental organization supporting two health centres in the Timbuktu region to withdraw.
In the light of increasing threats to education, the United Nations initiated a dialogue with the Ministry of Education on the protection of schools. Efforts to engage CMA on ending and preventing grave violations against children continued and steps were taken to develop an action plan with the Mouvement national de libération de l’Azawad. In October, the United Nations also assisted the Malian authorities in developing a separation and reintegration strategy for children. I encourage the Malian authorities and stakeholders involved in the implementation of the peace agreement to dedicate attention to the rights and specific needs of children.
Parties in Mali
1. Mouvement national de libération de l’Azawada,c
2. Mouvement pour l’unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l’Ouesta,c
3. Ansar Eddinea,c
(a) Parties that recruit and use children.
(c) Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children.