Interest in adopting legislation to protect HRDs emerged within civil society in Mali.

The Malian Human Rights Defenders Coalition (COMADDH in French) initiated internal discussions on the need to adopt legislation on HRD protection, as the situation for HRDs had worsened since the beginning of the national crisis in early 2012.[1] In June 2014 COMADDH held a national workshop where the draft legislation was shared with other Malian CSOs, before submitting it to the Ministry of Justice and Human rights for its backing.[2] As in Burundi, the bill borrows heavily on the text of the current Ivorian law on HRD protection.[3] As a result, there has been a failure to adopt a comprehensive public policy approach (see box on PI’s vision on public policies, above).

PI in Mali

Since late July 2014, PI has established contact with COMADDH. In late September, PI provided COMADDH (and through it the Minister of Justice) with a detailed analysis of the bill with suggestions on ways to enrich its contents and strengthen its public policy approach.

[1] In 2012, Mali underwent a serious sociopolitical, economical and humanitarian crisis, which led to the collapse of state authority. It was triggered by the occupation in Northern Mali by armed groups in January and the subsequent military intervention of French troops one year later. Several human rights violations were reported in the country, including summary executions, enforced disappearances, rapes, looting, arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment perpetrated both by the armed groups and the Malian armed forces. See “Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Mali, Suliman Baldo”. A/HRC/25/72. 10 January 2014.

[2] Since its establishment as a local NGO in Mali in 2008, COMADDH has worked on developing responses to protect HRDs at risk. After the civil conflict erupted in 2013, COMADDH put an ad hoc protection mechanism in place to protect HRDs in northern Mali.

[3] The West-Africa HRD Network shared a copy of the bill that was still being discussed in Côte d’Ivoire at the time. Protection International Skype interview with COMADDH President. 28 August 2014.


*** This information originates from PI’s publication – FOCUS 2014.