(HRW) – The human rights climate in northern and increasingly central Mali remains precarious as a result of abuses and intimidation by Islamist armed groups, bloody intercommunal clashes, surges in violent crime and rights violations by state security forces engaged in counterterrorism operations. Slow implementation of the 2015 peace accord and the failure to disarm thousands of combatants involved in the 2012-2013 armed conflict, deepened a security vacuum that increasingly has placed civilians in the north at risk. Meanwhile, from 2015, Islamist armed groups have increasingly carried out operations and abuses in central and southern Mali, including the capital, Bamako.