All warring parties in northern Mali are obligated to abide by the laws of war in the event of a Malian military offensive against opposition armed groups in the Kidal region. Past abuses have heightened concerns about the need for all armed forces to minimize harm to civilians and ensure the humane treatment of all prisoners, in accordance with the 1949 Geneva Conventions and customary international humanitarian law.
The Malian government should take immediate action to address child labor in mining instead of denying it. Human Rights Watch published an in-depth report on the issue in December 2011, but Malian authorities attacked this research at a news conference earlier in April 2013 and rejected well-documented evidence that child labor is used in the country’s mines.
The Malian government should urgently investigate and prosecute soldiers responsible for torture, summary executions, and enforced disappearances of suspected Islamist rebels and alleged collaborators since the fighting in northern Mali resumed in January 2013. Mali’s international partners should bolster accountability efforts and civilian protection in the north to help prevent further abuses.
Malian government forces summarily executed at least 13 suspected Islamist supporters and forcibly disappeared five others from the garrison town of Sévaré and in Konna during January 2013. Islamist armed groups in Konna executed at least seven Malian soldiers, five of whom were wounded, and used children as soldiers in combat.
This weekend, more than 140 governments agreed on the text for a new legally binding convention on mercury, a highly toxic metal. It has taken three years and many compromises to get here. What often seemed like a dry and bureaucratic process – delegates arguing over nuance during long night sessions – has very real implications for millions of people around the globe.
The African Union (AU) should make human rights central to its discussions about crises situations in Africa at its summit meeting this week in Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter to the AU chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The Ordinary Summit begins on January 21, 2013, and AU heads of state are due to meet on January 27 and 28 in Addis Ababa.