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Banjul, 2 March 2023: IHRDA has concluded, 1 March 2023, a public dialogue with key stakeholders in Mali on the implementation of decision passed by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Court) in May 2018 on the non-compliance of Mali’s Family Code with the standards of regional and international treaties ratified by Mali.

The event that brought together representatives of relevant Government institutions, civil society organisations and the media sought to assess level of implementation of the said decision, and to advocate and craft strategies for the engagement of all stakeholders towards its full implementation.

It should be recalled that in the case, which was filed before the African Court in July 2016 by IHRDA and Malian partner Association pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits des Femmes (APDF), the Court held that the Mali Family and Personal Status Code promulgated in December 2011 upheld several provisions that were against the standards of treaties ratified by Mali, notably the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol), the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. The Court noted that the shortcomings of the said Code allowed for widespread violations against women, girls and children born out of wedlock, such as early and forced marriage for girls, disregard for the right to inheritance, and continuous prevalence of harmful traditional practices. The Court thus urged Government of Mali to revise the said Code and align it with Mali’s international obligations under the aforementioned legal instruments, amongst other measures to ensure proper enforcement of the revised Code.

“This dialogue is momentous for Mali, as it demonstrates the State’s willingness to provide a platform for key national stakeholders to mutually deliberate on deeply-held views and practices especially affecting women and girls, notably early marriage, and address the human rights violations occasioned by these practices, and to fulfil Mali’s obligations under regional and international human rights instruments as borne out by the Family Code case” – IHRDA Interim Head, Edmund Foley, stated.

The public dialogue falls within the framework of a GIZ-supported project to strengthen compliance of States with decisions of African human rights mechanisms. It comes after a similar event IHRDA successfully organised in Kenya in July 2022.