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LEADING UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICIAL TO VISIT MALI
4 October 2012

GENEVA ( 4 October 2012) – United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović will visit Mali from 5 to 8 October 2012 to undertake an assessment of the human rights situation in the country, and to identify areas for potential cooperation between the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Government of Mali.

During his four-day mission, Mr. Šimonović will meet with senior government and United Nations officials, the national human rights commission and a wide range of civil society actors. He also plans to travel to Mopti, a town some 450 kilometres north-east of the capital Bamako, where he will meet with displaced people and civil society groups which have had access to, or fled from, the crisis-stricken northern regions and some of its worst-hit towns such as Timbuktu and Gao.

In a recent report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay outlined a host of human rights abuses and alleged violations of international humanitarian law in Northern Mali carried out by groups such as the Movement for the Unity of the Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Ansar Dine.

Such violations have included amputations, the stoning to death of an unmarried couple, summary executions, recruitment of child soldiers, as well as violations of women’s rights, children’s rights, freedom of expression, the rights to food, health, education, to freedom of religion and belief, and cultural rights. Ms. Pillay also called for urgent national and international action to bring an end to the political instability that has been fuelling the violence. 

Ivan Šimonović assumed his functions as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights on 17 July 2010, heading OHCHR’s New York Office. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/ASG.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Mali:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/MLIndex.aspx  

For additional information and media requests, please contact spokesperson Rupert Colville (+ 41 22 917 9767 or rcolville@ohchr.org )or media officer Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 or rshamdasani@ohchr.org )

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR12/250E