Human rights violations continue as Mali jails child soldiers
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/21/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Amnesty International is reporting that Mali's government continues its practice of jailing children accused of having been members of armed rebel and extremist groups, and the government continues to commit human rights abuses.
Child soldiers who were forced to fight in northern Mali after that region of the country turned to chaos back in 2012.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Human rights groups reports that its researchers visited some of the children-some as young as 16-in prison, and found that they do not even have access to lawyers, nor are allowed visits from family.
One boy hasn't been allowed outside or seen his family since late 2013.
Amnesty's Mali director, Saloum Traore, says that the detention of these children violates Mali's international human rights obligations and agreements that were made between the government and the United Nations.
"They are victims, and should not be considered as perpetrators. Instead of being detained they should get psychological help and be reintegrated into their communities," said Traore.
Back in march of 2012, a large group of separatists, rebels, an Islamic militants took control of much of the country's north, and hundreds of children were recruited into the group as child soldiers. This violence did not end when French and African troops recaptured much the north in early 2013.
During a recent, two-week visit to Mali, some of Amnesty's researchers found evidence of deaths in custody as well as continuing violence perpetrated against civilians by rebel groups such as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad.
Amnesty says more than 500 cases of violence have been documented in the north since the conflict began in January 2012, and despite election held in 2013, Mali's government is still weak and unstable. In many parts of the north there is no government, and schools and courts are not even functional.
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