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UN Express Dismay Over Mali’s Decision to Expel Senior Rights Official

Antonio Guteress and Asimmi Goita

António Guterres, secretary general of the UN, expresses sadness at Mali’s recent decision to designate the top UN human rights official as persona non grata.

In a statement released on Monday by Stéphane Dujarric, Mr. Guterres stated that the Mali junta had announced the senior official’s suspension on Sunday.

The top official of the UN human rights office (OHCHR) and the director of the human rights division of the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were both denied entry into the nation by Mali.

The UN chief emphasized the important need for the Malian authorities to respect human rights, particularly freedom of expression, which is essential for the operation of a democratic society, in the context of the political transition towards a restoration to constitutional order in Mali.

In order to carry out the mission’s mandate to support Mali and its people, particularly the promotion and preservation of human rights, he expressed complete trust in MINUSMA and the dedication and professionalism of its staff.

Mr. Guterres emphasized the persona non grata theory and said that UN employees are exempt from its application.

The UN chief said that the theory violated the UN’s legal commitments, particularly those imposed by the UN Charter and those relating to the privileges and immunities of its employees.

As it enters its eleventh year of a protracted security crisis, Mali continues to experience instability, violence, and the growth of armed groups and extremists. Additionally, there are still issues with the Wagner Group, a private military contractor with its base in Russia, and its operations there.

An investigation into the suspected mass execution of civilians in 2022 by government forces and the military contractor was requested by UN-appointed independent rights experts in January.

Following unrest in the north and an Islamist rebel military coup that failed, which is currently in effect over much of the north and center of the nation, MINUSMA was founded in 2013.


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