Banjul, 20 June 2023: The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) has urged Government of Mali to immediately ensure that the rapist of an 11-year-old Malian girl is prosecuted and punished, and to put in place structural measures for the elimination of all forms of violence against children, including enactment and implementation of relevant legislation, training of competent officials, as well as creation of specialized mechanisms.
The ACERWC made these remarks in its decision in “Communication 0013/Com/001/2020: Association pour le Progrès et la Défense des Droits des Femmes (APDF) and Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (on behalf of AS) v. Mali”, communicated to the Plaintiffs on 7 June 2023.
According to the facts, AS, an 11-year-old girl was raped by a 36-year-old man in March 2018 in Bamako, Mali. Though the incident was reported and a case filed before a local court in April 2018, local authorities failed to effectively investigate the offence and prosecute the perpetrator.
In February 2020, IHRDA and APDF seized the ACERWC, alleging several violations of rights protected under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The Plaintiffs appeared before the ACERWC’s 40th Ordinary Session in Maseru, Lesotho, in December 2022, to argue the case.
“Rape and other sexual offences are widespread in Mali. Unfortunately, the local authorities are not doing enough to punish perpetrators and dissuade people from committing such acts. When our judicial authorities continue to be complaisant with such serious offences, we would continue to seek remedy elsewhere, until we get justice for victims,” APDF President, Bintou Coulibaly Diawara, noted.
In the decision, the ACERWC found Mali in violation of several obligations, notably the duty to protect the best interests of the child, protection against child abuse and torture, and non-discrimination.
“We are happy that the ACERWC has established Mali’s responsibility in this matter. We hope that Government of Mali will bring the perpetrator to account, and put in place effective measures to curb sexual violence against children,” IHRDA Senior legal Officer, Eric Bizimana, noted.
For more information:
IHRDA is a pan–African non-governmental organisation working to promote human rights in Africa and improve the effectiveness of the African Human Rights system.
Contact: Eric Bizimana, Senior Legal Officer; Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
APDF is a non-governmental organisation working to promote women and girls’ rights in Mali.
Contact: Barrister Lassana Diakité, Legal Counsel; Email: email@example.com