In November, the Working Group received the SG’s third report (S/2020/1105) on children and armed conflict in Mali, covering the period from July 2017 to March 2020. During this period, the CTFMR verified 1,764 grave violations, affecting 1,092 children (251 girls, 811 boys, 30 of unknown gender). This number represents a sharp increase compared to the previous reporting period (740 violations impacting 507 children), with five out of six grave violations seeing a dramatic increase. Attacks on schools and hospitals tripled since the last reporting period, leading to the closure of over 1,260 schools and impacting the education of at least 378,300 children prior to the nationwide closure of schools due to COVID-19. Much of the rise in grave violations corresponded with an uptick in intercommunal violence and the presence of armed groups in central Mali. Three percent of violations were attributed to Government Forces, and 44 percent of violations were attributed to non-State armed groups. For the remaining verified violations, it was not possible to identify the perpetrator. The Working Group should:

  • Express grave concern at the increase in grave violations against children, and call on all parties to uphold their obligations under IHL and IHRL; call for perpetrators to be held accountable, in particular for sexual violence against children;
  • Call on the Government to ensure continued and full implementation of its 2013 Protocol on the Release and Handover of Children Associated with Armed Forces and Groups, including for children allegedly associated with armed groups designated as terrorist, recalling that children should be treated primarily as victims and prioritizing their reintegration as guided by the Paris Principles;
  • Expressing concern at children verified to be associated with the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA), urge the Government to reinforce effective age assessment procedures, to continue cooperating with the CTFMR on screening for and ensuring the swift release of associated children in disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) and integration processes, and to finalize the revision of the draft child protection law criminalizing child recruitment and use;
  • Call on the Government to continue to take steps to fully implement the Safe Schools Declaration and the Guidelines for Protecting Schools from Military Use, and to ensure that attacks on schools and related protected personnel are investigated and that those responsible are duly prosecuted;
  • Welcome efforts to strengthen and accelerate implementation of the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad’s (CMA) 2017 action plan, urge the Platform to sign and implement its draft action plan, and call on parties to conflict who have not yet done so to engage with the UN to develop, sign, and implement action plans to end and prevent grave violations;
  • Encourage ongoing efforts to mainstream children’s rights into the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission and to facilitate children’s safe participation in the reconciliation process, and call for the specific needs of boys and girls to be taken into account in all DDR programs and justice and security reforms.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – December 2020.


UN Action

Year listed: 2013
Action Plans signed: CMA (Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad), including the MNLA (Mouvement national de libération de l’Azawad), action plan to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children and sexual violence against children (March 2017)
Sanctions Committee: Mali Sanctions Committee (Current Chair: Dominican Republic)
Secretary-General’s reports on CAAC in Mali: 2018; 2014
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Mali: 20182014

Perpetrators listed in the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual reports on children and armed conflict

2001 2002 2003 2005 2006 2007 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Ansar Eddine* a,c a,c a,c a,c a,c
Mouvement national de libération de l’Azawad~* a,c a,c a,c a,c a,c
Mouvement pour l’unification et le jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest * a,c a,c a,c a,c a,c

a: Parties that recruit and use children
b: Parties that kill and maim children
c: Parties that commit rape and other forms of sexual violence against children

d: Parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals
e: Parties that engage in abduction of children
f: Parties that deny humanitarian access to children

~ This party has concluded an action plan with the United Nations in line with Security Council resolutions 1539 (2004) and 1612 (2005).
* This party has been in the annexes for at least five years and is therefore considered a persistent perpetrator.