Targets: Malian President Dioncounda Traore and Military Head of The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad Ag Mohamed Najem
Goal: Forbid the use of torture by both sides of the Malian Civil War.
Recently, both the official army of Mali and a Taureg liberation movement, the The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) have been detaining and torturing civilians in their fight for control of the disputed Kidal region. Reports of abuses on both sides are highly similar: government and MNLA soldiers alike have been accused of beating, torturing and robbing civilians and prisoners of war because of their ethnicity. If there is ever to be peace in the Kidal region, both sides must stop these abuses must be stopped before they escalate.
Although the conflict over the Kidal region has been ongoing for several years in various forms, violence increased recently when the Malian government launched an offensive to retake the region, following a mass detention of civilians by the MNLA. Despite many calls for a peaceful resolution the conflict, it is expected to go on for some time.
So far there has been only one civilian casualty; however, over 155 civilians have been illegally detained or beaten in the past two months, with many requiring medical treatment for grotesque injuries. It is also important to remember that it is early in the conflict, and these abuses are sure to escalate unless measures are taken to prevent them. Both sides must make efforts to better police soldiers, and if necessary prosecute them for these crimes.
In addition to the many accounts of torture, the MNLA has refused to release a number of civilians, despite requests by human rights organizations to do so. Meanwhile, Malian police are still awaiting a verdict on soldiers convicted of murdering two Taureg shepherds last month.
Dear Malian President Dioncounda Traore and Military Head of The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad Ag Mohamed Najem,
In the past two months, soldiers on both sides of the conflict over the Kidal region have been accused of torturing, robbing and beating civilians based on their ethnic backgrounds. In total, over 155 civilians have been either illegally detained or beaten by soldiers on both sides of the conflict. If there is ever to be peace in the region, leaders on both sides must work together to protect human rights and prevent civilians from being harmed.
Both sides of the conflict must make a commitment to better police soldiers to prevent these abuses from escalating.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Alicroche via Wikimedia Commons