HRW worries about backsliding Mali

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The new civilian leadership in Mali needs to address rampant abuses or risk jeopardizing the country's political future, Human Rights Watch said.

Diango Sissoko took over as prime minister following the mid-December arrest and subsequent resignation of Cheick Modibo Diarra. Military authorities who arrested the former prime minister said he was in the way of political developments. Those who arrested Diarra were supporters of an earlier coup.


Corinne Dufka, a lead researcher on African affairs at Human Rights Watch, said there were rampant human rights abuses that Sissoko's government needs to address.

"Mali's new prime minister needs to tackle an array of human rights problems but an abusive military and rising ethnic tensions in the country should top the list," she said in a statement from Nairobi.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution Thursday authorizing an African-led intervention in Mali. The one-year mandate is to ensure political stability and help restore territorial integrity in a country divided when foreign fighters seized control over northern Mali.

The Security Council said it had worked with the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States to develop the new military force. ECOWAS, in a statement, said the resolution paves the way for an international effort to remove al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and its affiliates from the region.


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