UN says any Russian paramilitaries in Mali should respect human rights

A possible partnership between the government of Mali and the Russian private security company Wagner should fully “respect human rights and international law” if it comes to fruition, a senior UN official said on Friday.

Asked during a press conference on the possible impact of a deployment of Russian paramilitary subcontractors on the 15,000 men of the UN peacekeeping mission, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Deputy Secretary General from the UN to peace operations, said he had seen no final agreement on the matter.

“As the UN, we do not interfere with sovereign prerogatives,” he said.

“It is important for us to be able to continue to carry out our mandate with the full support of the host government, with full cooperation and coordination with the local armed forces, without obstacles, without denial of access, without threat,” he said. he adds.

“It is also essential that any partnership be conducted with full respect for human rights and international humanitarian law,” he said.

“Our missions are mandated to report on human rights and humanitarian law,” the UN official said. “We expect our host governments, host countries to take this into account when entering into a bilateral partnership.”

France and Germany have warned that they will reconsider their military engagement in Mali if a contract is struck between the Malian government and the controversial Wagner company, already present in several other African countries.

In the Central African Republic, the UN has accused members of this paramilitary society, known to be close to President Vladimir Putin, of committing abuses at the beginning of the summer – while the number of such accusations has declined, told l ‘AFP a UN official. the week.

Russia has denied having negotiated a military presence in Mali. According to a French source familiar with the matter, the junta in power in Bamako is nevertheless studying the possibility of a contract with Wagner on the deployment of a thousand Russian paramilitaries, to train the country’s armed forces and ensure the protection of its leaders.

Asked by AFP, the Malian Ministry of Defense admitted to having discussions with Russian society.

prh / jh / st / bgs

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