Norway's statement during the debate with the independent expert on Mali

Norway welcomes the report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Mali.We fully concur with the underlying assumption that the worsening security situation in the northern part of Mali poses serious constraints with respect to human rights as well as adherence to humanitarian obligations. We are deeply concerned by the number of violent incidents, not least perpetrated by terrorist groups. We are alarmed by reports of rape and gross abuses against women and children.

All parties to the Malian conflict bear a responsibility to adhere to fundamental international human rights norms. It goes without saying that violations against human rights fuel the ongoing conflict and complicates efforts to reach a lasting peace. Insecurity further erodes prospects for fulfilling social and economic rights. Norway has supported the peace talks in Algiers, with a view to reach a durable peace on the basis of Mali’s territorial integrity, unity and secular character. We encourage all parties to sign the current draft agreement.

Truth, justice and reconciliation are essential elements in consolidating peace. Reconsolidation does, however, not mean impunity to the perpetrators of international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and serious human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence.

Norway has identified Mali as a focus country for bilateral development cooperation. In this respect we intend to attach great importance to good governance and the promotion of rule of law.