Ensuring a timely return to constitutional rule and the protection of human rights in Mali.

Thank you Madam Chair and thank you again to SRSG Wane and Ms. Dicko for your briefing and for all that you are doing under these most difficult circumstances.

Like other members of the Council, the UK is gravely concerned about recent developments in Mali. We deeply regret the deaths of eight peacekeepers as a result of hostile acts since the Council last met to discuss the situation in October. The frequency of these deplorable attacks is testament to the gravity of the security challenges facing Mali, with dire consequences for civilians and peacekeepers. He underlines the need for concerted efforts on the part of the Malian authorities and international partners to stabilize the country.

These efforts must be led by a legitimate government focused on meeting the needs of its people. Instead, we have a transitional government focused on extending its mandate. Mali’s proposal to delay elections for up to five years is deeply disappointing. It calls into question the attachment of the transitional authorities to democracy and the rule of law, despite the assurances given to the members of this Council during our visit to Bamako last October.

We continue to support ECOWAS mediation efforts. We call on the transitional authorities to prepare for the elections without delay so that constitutional order can be restored as soon as possible. Like ECOWAS, we believe that any longer term reform should be implemented by the next democratically elected government. We encourage the transitional authorities to continue to engage in good faith with ECOWAS, so that a credible electoral timetable can be agreed.

As the conflict in Mali intensifies and spreads further south, civilians need protection and humanitarian assistance more than ever. The confirmed presence of the Wagner group in Mali risks further destabilizing the country. The UK made its concerns clear in the joint statement we co-signed with other international partners on December 23. We have seen how the human rights of civilians have been violated, and how UN peacekeepers have been endangered by the presence of irresponsible Wagner forces in the Central African Republic. The deployment of mercenaries will only increase the challenges facing Mali. We urge the Malian authorities to reconsider their decision.

The UK remains committed to the Malian people and to helping build long-term stability and development. Through our deployment to MINUSMA, British troops are making a tangible contribution to mission objectives, including the protection of civilians in hard-to-reach areas. They also help United Nations human rights teams investigate abuses. Last November, the UK’s Global Human Rights Ambassador Rita French visited Mali and heard about the declining space for human rights actors in the country and the lingering obstacles to participation of women in political and peacebuilding processes. The UK is using program funding to help amplify women’s voices and we welcome Ms Dicko’s voice and testimony here today. As we look to the elections and the resumption of the peace process, we urge the transitional authorities, signatory armed groups and all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to include women and youth.

The United Kingdom will continue to follow the situation in Mali closely and we believe that the Security Council should do the same, keeping all options open with the aim of ensuring a swift return to constitutional order and the protection of people. human rights.

Thank you Madam President.

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