Target: Dioncounda Traore, Mali’s interim president
Goal: Stop Malian soldiers from committing further atrocities in their fight against terrorism.
In the last few weeks, there have been multiple eye-witness reports of Malian troops executing civilians and suspected rebel sympathizers in Mali. The number of human rights violations recorded has been increasing and now large-scale executions have begun to occur. Demand that the Malian Government reign in its troops and end this senseless violence.
Since early 2012, the Malian army has been kidnapping, torturing, and causing the “mysterious disappearances” of captive enemy soldiers. At the beginning of 2013, 33 civilians were reported to have been executed by Malian soldiers in the military-controlled towns of Sevare, Mopti, and Niono. The victims were either individuals suspected of having ties with jihadists or people targeted because of their ethnicities, often called “light skins”. The allegations have been officially denied, but all journalist access to the three towns in question has been cut off. The only reason given for this cordoning-off was a vague allusion to “security risks”.
The unfortunate fact about this kind of violence is that it tends to build upon itself: forces on one side of the conflict seek revenge for the last offense committed by the other. In an incident on September 8, 2012, Malian soldiers detained and summarily executed a group of 16 Islamic preachers on their way to a religious conference. They were accused of supporting the rebels and shot down on the spot. There are many other recent incidences of torture, killing, intimidation, racial abuse, and beatings by Mali’s soldiers and rebel fighters alike. Though proof that things are worsening abounds, the executions in Sevari, Mopti, and Niono provide a dire confirmation that the situation is escalating quickly.
In order to prevent further tragedy, affirmative action must be taken as soon as possible. We cannot wait for allegations and eye-witness reports to turn into officially documented human rights violations. They are happening, and they will continue to happen until the Malian Government steps in. Sign this petition and demand that the Malian Government take ownership of these atrocities, control its troops, and put a stop to this brutality.
Dear Interim Government of Mali,
The intensity of violence and wartime atrocities committed by your troops in the fight against the uprising rebel groups has risen to a level that is absolutely intolerable. Civilians are being executed, innocent men and women are being beaten and killed, and your soldiers are showing no signs of stopping their current rampage of violent behavior.
Although this is a war you are fighting alongside the French, it is your soldiers who are out of control, and your government that needs to step in. No battle is won, no war is won when the lives and human rights of innocent people are sacrificed in the process. Take ownership of these war crimes, punish those responsible, and end the senseless violence that has become endemic to this conflict.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: Emilia Tjernstrom via Flickr