Mali’s Military Junta Expels UN Mission’s Human Rights Chief Over Destabilising Actions

Mali’s military junta on Sunday declared the head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission’s human rights division persona non grata and ordered him to leave the country in 48 hours’ time, reported Reuters.

The decision comes after a Malian rights activist alarmed about the country’s security situation in a speech to a UN gathering last month and accused the ruling junta’s new Russian military partner, the Wagner group, of serious rights violations.

In a statement read out on national television, government spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said Guillaume Ngefa-Atondoko Andali had committed subversive actions in his selection of witnesses to testify at UN Security Council briefings on Mali.

“This measure comes after the destabilizing and subversive actions of Monsieur Andali,” the statement added.

It said Andali’s bias was evident during the review of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Mali late last month.

Aminata Cheick Dicko, a Malian civil society representative, criticized the ruling junta at a special UN Security Council briefing on January 27.

MINUSMA was established back in 2013 to stabilize Mali amid growing threats from jihadist fighters. The mission also aimed at the protection of civilians, contributing to peace efforts, and defending human rights. But, despite the deployment of the MINUSMA troops, the security situation has continued to deteriorate in the West African country.

The relations between the mission and the ruling regime became sour recently, especially after the military take-over in a 2020 coup, followed by another coup nine months later.

Mali’s ruling junta has repeatedly blocked MINUSMA’s attempts to investigate growing reports of human rights abuses carried out by the armed forces.

In related news, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is expected to visit Mali on Monday with the aim to boost defense and security ties between the two countries. It will be the first official visit to Mali by a Russian foreign minister.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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