UN human rights chief condemns Mali expulsion of UN peacekeeping official

WikiMedia (AMISOM Public Information)

UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk Tuesday called on Mali to reverse its expulsion of Guillaume Ngefa-Atondoko Andali, head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Mali’s government declared Andali persona non grata on Sunday, but the UN confirmed that he was already outside Mali at the time.

Andali’s expulsion from the country is likely to limit the mission’s reach and ability. Türk labelled the decision “regrettable” and called on the authorities in Mali to reverse the decision “without delay.” Meanwhile, MINUSMA issued a statement in which it reaffirmed its “commitment to continue to work impartially to implement its mandate to promote and protect human rights.”

MINUSMA is part of global peacekeeping efforts to combat the instability that Mali has faced in recent years, with the most recent concern being alleged crimes against humanity committed by Russian paramilitary organization the Wagner Group. Although MINUSMA has faced questions in the past about its efficiency, the global response to Andali’s expulsion has been to criticise Mali’s actions. France publicly supported MINUSMA’s “work and dedication” and “strongly” condemned Andali’s expulsion.

The announcement comes as an independent UN expert is due to visit Mali “to continue the overall assessment of the human rights situation in the country.” The findings from this visit will be used in the annual report to the Human Rights Council in March.

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