Malian government seeks international aid
The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to respond to Mali’s request for an international military force and has demanded that all armed groups cease acts of human rights abuse and violations of humanitarian law. All of this following the ongoing conflict in the Northern region of Mali which has resulted in the displacement of 118,795 people. The movement of the displaced southward during heavy rains and seasonal flooding has led to 219 reported cases of cholera and has left an estimated 4.6 million people at risk of malnutrition and starvation.
Continued conflict in Mali’s North region has resulted in targeted attacks against civilians, forced displacement, and reports of sexual violence and abuse. Furthermore, Human Rights Watch (HRW), UNICEF, Cri de Coeur, and the Human Rights Commission in Mali have reported that children are being recruited into Islamist militias where they have been seen manning checkpoints, conducting foot patrols, riding in patrol vehicles, guarding prisoners, and enforcing Sharia law.
Security remains a primary concern for humanitarian operations and communities across the country and it has been difficult for relief workers to determine, collect, and document the exact number of children whose rights have been violated.
In addition to violations of children's rights, women's rights are also at risk. Forced marriages are reportedly common and women have been sold and forced to re-marry against their will. Furthermore, it has been reported that radical Islamists have been compiling a list of unmarried mothers resulting in the fear that punshments such as stoning, amputations, and executions may follow for women who are unmarried and pregnant or those who have had children out of wedlock.
In addition to requesting the support of an International Military force, the Malian government is working with Plan Mali to setup a “Back to School” campaign in Segou. Currently, 720 children are participating in various activities held within 8 child-friendly spaces.
Furthermore, Plan Mali has finalized a 6-month emergency response strategy to aid the Segou and Mopti regions. This emergency response strategy will meet the following objectives:
- Prevent, mitigate, and respond to child protection issues through the provision of safe environments and psycho-social activities for the 60,000 people who have been displaced
- Provide a quality education to 54,000 displaced children
- Contribute to the reduction of mortality and morbidity linked to acute malnutrition among children who are under the age of 5
- Aid expecting and new mothers, and
- Provide food and non-food related items to meet the immediate needs of 7,000 people
In addition to providing support and nutritional training to those affected, Plan is also raising awareness of child protection issues through educational training and is collaborating with partners to respond to these issues.