Head of UN peacekeeping mission in Mali says mission should be extended

Amid a delayed return to civilian rule, the deteriorating security and the dire humanitarian and human rights situation in Mali, the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali should be extended for another year, speakers told a Security Council meeting on the situation in Mali on Monday.

“While the challenges in Mali are numerous and complex, they are far from being insurmountable,” said El-Ghassim Wane, special representative of the secretary-general in Mali and head of the UN mission, expressing hope for breakthroughs.

Echoing Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s acknowledgement of the need for the mission’s continued presence and recommendation to extend its mandate for another year, Wane stressed the importance for the mission to be allowed to move freely to fulfil its mandate.

Armed conflicts have led to massive displacement, said Sadya Toure, director of Mali Muso, a non-profit for girls’ education, when briefing the council on behalf of civil society.

“Women are not safe anywhere,” and many schools have closed across the country, affecting some 450,000 children, she said, adding that teenagers in Mali have grown up in a violent environment without any prospects, and high rates of unemployment “have led to insecurity and social unrest,” making teenagers easily recruited for armed groups.

Addressing these issues must be a priority if the international community wants to ensure long-lasting peace and reconciliation, she said, emphasizing the need to bolster the UN mission’s mandate to allow it to operate alongside Malian forces to combat terrorism.