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UN condemns Mali rights abuses

2012-09-28 21:07

Geneva - The UN Human Rights Council harshly condemned on Friday human rights abuses in Mali, including the use of child soldiers, violence against women and children as well as the destruction of holy sites.

A resolution passed by the council "condemns the excesses and abuses committed in the Republic of Mali, particularly in the north of the country, by, among others, the rebels, terrorist groups and other organised transnational crime networks".

Tuareg rebels seized control of northern Mali in March in the chaotic aftermath of a coup in the capital, but were themselves quickly swept aside by Islamist extremists, and the area is now occupied by militant groups including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim).

Friday's resolution denounced "violence against women and children, killings, hostage-taking, pillaging, theft, destruction of cultural and religious sites and recruitment of child soldiers".

It also voiced concern over "the impact of the activities of organised transnational crime networks on the situation of human rights in Mali and in other countries in the region".

The resolution welcomed the creation of a unity government in Bamako last month and noted measures it had taken to bring perpetrators of serious rights violations to justice.

Mali's government has asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague to probe atrocities committed by the armed groups occupying the north, an area larger than Texas or France.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called on world leaders this week "not to abandon" the Sahel region, but also urged extreme caution amid calls from Mali's government for military intervention to flush out the Islamist rebels in the north.