The UN Secretary-General issued his periodic Report on children and armed conflict in Mali on 14 April 2014. The report covers the period from January 2012 to December 2013. It was presented to the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict on 1 May 2014. Watchlist included recommendations on Mali to the Working Group in its Monthly Update for May 2014.

The Secretary-General’s Report on children and armed conflict in Mali describes violations perpetrated against children. The majority of the violations took place in the North of the country. Five armed groups (Ansar Dine, MNLA, HCUA, MUJAO, and Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb), the Malian armed forces and pro-government militias were accused of carrying out grave violations against children. Three armed groups (Ansar Dine, MNLA, and MUJAO) are listed for recruitment and use and killing and maiming of children in the Secretary-General’s 12th Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict.

Due to a lack of child protection capacity within the UN Peacekeeping Mission to Mali, MINUSMA, and restrictions in access to the Northern part of the country, the United Nations was only able to verify a limited number of cases. The documented violations included sexual violence, killing and maiming, recruitment and use of children, and attacks on schools and hospitals. Dozens of children were also detained for their alleged association with armed groups.

As a result of the end of the conflict and an improvement in the security and political situation, the number of violations against children decreased towards the end of 2013. However, challenges remain in implementing the UN-led Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, and children remain at risk, particularly in the North.