UN human rights chief warns of "catastrophic spiral of violence” in Mali

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Navi Pillay

Protection of human rights is key to stabilizing the situation in Mali, says United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

In remarks to the Security Council during an open debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Ms. Pillay said the Council has achieved political consensus regarding the situation in Mali, where French forces are currently helping government forces to retake the northern part of the country from armed rebels.

"Protection of human rights is key to stabilizing the situation.  My office is deploying human rights officers in the country and the first arrived in Bamako at the end of last week. As the situation evolves, attacks and reprisals risk driving Mali into a catastrophic spiral of violence.  I call on all parties to the conflict to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law and to prevent retaliation." (29")

The crisis in Mali was created by a military coup in March last year and the occupation of the northern parts of the country by rebels.

There are ongoing discussions about a possible deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping mission to take over from the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1'12"

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