World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Islamists Use Fear, Drug Money to Control Northern Mali

Islamists Use Fear, Drug Money to Maintain Control of Northern Mali – UN Rights Official

New York, Oct 10 2012 6:10PM Radical Islamists who seized northern Mali earlier this year are maintaining their control through fear and drug money, imposing an extremist version of Muslim Sharia law and restrictions that target women in particular, a top United Nations human rights official said today.

Among a litany of human rights abuses committed by the Islamists, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonovic cited “very drastic punishments,” the recruitment of child soldiers, and enforced marriages that are a smokescreen for enforced prostitution, terming the situation as “very bad.”

“They are buying loyalty. They have tremendous resources to buy loyalty because they are now having kickbacks from narco-traffickers in the region,” he told a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York following a visit to the West African country, where a third of the 1.5 million population of the north, an area the size of France, has been driven from their homes. Mali is a transit corridor for cocaine and other drugs from South America to Europe.

“There is also substantial ransom money that is being controlled by them,” Mr. Šimonovic said, adding: “The overwhelming majority of people in the north are not supportive of the rebels and dislike what is happening.”

He noted that there had been three public executions, eight cases of amputations, a number of public floggings and other inhuman and degrading punishments. “The number is small but the threat is there, it’s real and people live with it and they are afraid of those lists,” he added, referring to lists that the Islamist groups are reported to be compiling of women who have had children out of wedlock, or who were unmarried and pregnant.

“The number of enforced marriages is increasing, the price to buy a wife is less than $1,000,” he noted. “After getting out of their families, the women, once forcefully married, quite often are by their so-called husbands married to other men after a very short while, which is in fact then a smokescreen for enforced prostitution and rapes that are taking place.”

Mr. Šimonovic stressed that children are particularly vulnerable to attempts to enlist them as child soldiers, often to plant improvised explosive devices, with their families being given $600 for enlistment, and then $400 a month in a country where over half the population lives on $1.25 a day. Many teachers have also fled, fearing the imposition of Sharia, so the children are missing out on education, too.

“Everybody is banned from listening to music, from smoking, women have to be covered, but the women are also targeted in the sense of restricting their ability to work,” he said. “Children can’t play soccer.”

Some 100,000 Malian refugees have already fled to Mauritania, 100,000 to Burkina Faso, 30,000 in Algeria and about 40,000 in Niger. Another 230,000 are estimated to be internally displaced.

Among the main Islamist groups who have seized control of the north Mr. Šimonovic noted that Ansar Dine was composed mainly of Malians while the leadership of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) is foreign, mostly from Arab countries and is closely related to Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

In August, the Security Council urged the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – working closely with the Malian Transitional authorities in Bamako, the capital, the African Union Commission and regional countries – to prepare detailed proposals for a stabilization force to restore Mali’s territorial integrity.
Oct 10 2012 6:10PM
________________

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Peace Deal ‘first Step’ In Resolving South Sudan Crisis

Children at a protection of civilians site in Juba, South Sudan, run by the UN Mission, perform at a special cultural event in March 2015. UN Photo/JC McIlwaine More>>

Yemen: Killing Or Maiming An Average Of Eight Children A Day

Killing or maiming an average of eight children a day, ‘brutal’ Yemen conflict must end – UNICEF More>>

Changing Habits/behaviours Key To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy can be caused by factors such as negative beliefs based on myths, misinformation. Fear of needles can be a factor for refusal. Photo: PAHO/WHO More>>

Burundi: Ban Condemns Assassination Of Senior Army Officer

Refugees from Burundi in South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: OCHA/Naomi Frerotte United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the assassination Burundi’s former Army Chief of Staff, Colonel Jean Bikomagu, who ... More>>

Deadly Industrial Explosions In Northern China

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been deeply saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries to scores of people as a result of deadly explosions in Tianjin, China. More>>

UN Urges Action To Tackle Deepening Refugee Crisis In Greece

A group of Syrian refugees arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey, near Skala Sykaminias, Greece. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell More>>

Probe Into Those Responsible For Chemical Weapons In Syria

The US Vessel Cape Ray, on which all 581 metric tonnes of a precursor chemical for sarin gas were removed from Syria and safely destroyed as the ship sailed in international waters in 2014. Photo: US Dept. of Transportation More>>

Myanmar Election: UNICEF Urges Prioritisation Of Children

With 99 days to go before Myanmar elections, UNICEF urges candidates make children the clear winner More>>

Liberia Thousands Of Unregistered Children Born During Ebola Crisis

Thousands of unregistered children born in Liberia during Ebola crisis at risk of exploitation – UNICEF More>>

UN Refugee Agency Envoy Angelina Jolie Visits Myanmar

UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt (left) in Myitkyina township, Kachin State, Myanmar, meeting with some of the 100,000 displaced people who currently live there. Photo: UNHCR/T.Stoddart More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news