In November, the Secretary-General (SG) published his fourth report on the situation of children and armed conflict (CAAC) in Mali (S/2022/856), covering the period from April 2020 to March 2022. During this period, the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting (CTFMR) verified 2,095 grave violations against 1,473 children (1,134 boys, 314 girls, 25 of unknown sex), representing a significant increase from the previous report (S/2020/1105) which covered a longer period. Recruitment and use and abduction both sharply increased during the reporting period. Attacks on schools and hospitals also increased, and 1,731 schools remained closed as of March 2022 due to insecurity, attacks, and threats of attacks against schools and related personnel. Verified incidents of killing and maiming, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and the denial of humanitarian access remained high. For more than half of grave violations (55 percent), a specific perpetrator was not identified. The proportion of grave violations attributed to Government Security Forces increased compared to the previous report. The CTFMR noted monitoring and reporting challenges due to insecurity and restricted access to some conflict-affected areas, as well as movement restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lack of progress on combatting impunity was – once again – highlighted in this report, in particular regarding rape and other forms of sexual violence. The Working Group should:

  • Strongly condemn all grave violations and abuses that continue to be committed against children in Mali, and demand that all parties uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights law (IHRL); Welcome the signature of an action plan to end and prevent recruitment and use of children by two factions of the Platform, and urge the Platform factions and the Coordination des mouvements de l’Azawad to swiftly and fully implement their respective action plans;
  • Urge the Malian authorities to strengthen the legal child protection framework, including by finalizing the Child Protection Code revision, reinforcing national systems to prevent child recruitment and use, and validating the draft law annulling the 30-day legal deadline for birth registration;
  • Call upon all signatory parties of the 2015 Peace Agreement to ensure that children’s rights and protection needs are prioritized in all negotiations on disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs, including the unconditional release of children in their ranks;
  • Express concern at the lack of progress on combatting impunity, and urge the Malian authorities to strengthen accountability for grave violations against children, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, by conducting timely and impartial investigations and, where appropriate, prosecutions, and ensuring child survivors of sexual violence have access to comprehensive, gender-sensitive, and age-appropriate response systems and services;
  • Call for continued and full implementation of the 2013 handover protocol, including for children allegedly associated with armed groups designated as terrorist groups by the UN, treating children primarily as victims and prioritizing their reintegration, as guided by the Paris Principles;
  • Demand that all parties allow and facilitate unimpeded, rapid, and safe access to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance to affected populations, especially children, and respect and protect humanitarian personnel, assets, and infrastructure;
  • Call on all parties to immediately cease attacks on schools and education personnel and urge the Malian authorities to continue to uphold commitments under the Safe Schools Declaration, including by enacting the draft bill on protecting education from attack.

This information is based on Watchlist’s Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – February 2023.


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: 2022; 2020; 2018; 2014
Security Council Working Group conclusions on Mali: 2020; 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.