UN mission in Mali aids battle against COVID-19

UN Photo/Mark Garten The UN Security Council meets remotely to discuss Mali.

As the COVID-19 pandemic plagues the world, the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali told the Security Council on Tuesday that the mission continues to fulfill its mandate while doing whatever it can to prevent the coronavirus outbreak from overrunning the country.

To date, Mali has recorded 46 positive COVID-19 cases, including one case within the UN mission, and five deaths.

“Despite these exceptional conditions, MINUSMA, the [UN Stabilization Mission in Mali] continues to fulfill the mission entrusted”, Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, said in an open video conference to the Council.

The UN Security Council meets remotely to discuss Mali./Photo by UN 

He highlighted two priorities, namely the Implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation and supporting the political framework for managing the crisis in the country’s conflict-affected central region.

Battling the virus together

Mr. Annadif highlighted “the exemplary cooperation” that has been established between the UN system and the Government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since 19 March, commercial flights to Mali have been suspended, group gatherings are prohibited, and a curfew has been introduced from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.”, he updated – all while MINUSMA and the Country Team continue to fulfill their mandates and comply with Government directives.

Complying with the Secretary-General’s decision during the pandemic, the rotation of uniformed contingents has been suspended until 30 June, but exceptions may occur on a case-by-case basis, he said, noting that isolation periods and other virus prevention-spreading guidelines would be respected.

Mr. Annadif added that staff with medical conditions or those wishing to join their families have taken special Government-authorized flights requested by some embassies.

“As you can see, we face many challenges, including the safety and well-being of the whole UN family in Mali, but also have real hopes through the capacity for resilience of the Malian People”, concluded the Special Representative.

Council members

For their part, the members of the Security Council expressed solidarity with Mali in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and called on the Government and the UN to continue working together to prevent the virus from spreading and for MINUSMA to continue delivering on its mandate despite the pandemic, while ensuring the safety and security of its staff and peacekeepers.

They welcomed the progress made in implementing the Agreement so far while underlining that more is needed.

The Council encouraged the Government and the signatory armed groups to continue to accelerate the implementation and welcomed the conclusions of the national inclusive dialogue, which helped to achieve the results.

They condemned Monday’s terrorist attack against the Malian Defense and Security Forces in Bamba, and expressed their condolences to Mali and to the victims’ families and called for the swift liberation of Mr. Cissé.

Moreover, the Council members called on the Government to work harder to stem violence in the Centre and ensure that all those responsible for violations and human rights abuses be brought to justice.