A draft peace agreement to end the military and political crisis in northern Mali does not adequately address the need for justice for serious international crimes during the conflict. The next round of negotiations between the Malian government and armed groups involved in the conflict is scheduled to begin on November 20, 2014, in Algiers.
Governments should make an urgent commitment to protect people from the harmful effects of mercury by signing and ratifying the new Minamata Convention on Mercury. The Minamata Convention, adopted in October 2013, obliges governments to reduce mercury use and emissions globally and is an important tool to protect the right to health.
Health ministers should pledge to take comprehensive action to prevent and treat the negative health effects of mercury, a toxic chemical. The World Health Assembly is scheduled to discuss a resolution on the new international treaty on mercury, the Minamata Convention, on May 21, 2014.
Mali’s government should step up efforts to investigate and prosecute serious rights abuses committed by all sides during Mali’s recent armed conflict. On March 17, 2014, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita expressing concern about the lack of justice for abuses during the armed conflict.
The Malian government should seek broad-based consultation to ensure a credible and independent truth commission to examine abuses since the country’s independence in 1960. Two executive orders – one decree and one ordinance – establishing the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission will be debated this week in Mali’s National Assembly.