U.N.: Mali has history of chronic abuse

Oct. 9, 2012 at 12:49 PM
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BAMAKO, Mali, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Islamic rebels in control of northern Mali are suspected of systemic abuses though there are chronic problems, a visiting U.N. rights official said.

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic issued a briefing from Bamako following a four-day tour of Mali. He said the foreign fighters who took control of northern Mali ingan early 2012 coup were suspected of committing atrocities and the situation has since taken a grave turn.

"Civil and political rights are being severely restricted as a result of the imposition of a strict interpretation of Sharia law and systemic cruel and inhuman punishments are being implemented, including executions, mutilations and stoning," he said in a statement.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar Dine are two of the militant groups suspected of serious human rights violations. Simonovic said there were alleged reports of at least three summary executions, eight amputations and two floggings in the north of the country.

Women, meanwhile, were "on sale" in the north of the country for less than $1,000.

In the south, Simonovic said several fighters held in connection with an April counter-coup have been held since then without trial. He added, however, that violations of human rights are part of a legacy of chronic issues in the country.

"There is a need to address these root causes, including wide-spread corruption, mismanagement of public funds, inequality between the elite and general population and nepotism, amongst others," he said.

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