University of Minnesota

Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination,

Concluding Observations on Mali, A/57/18, paras. 391-411 (2002).




Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination
Sixty-first session (5-23 August 2002)


391. The Committee considered the seventh to fourteenth periodic reports of Mali, submitted in one document (CERD/C/407/Add.2), at its 1546th and 1547th meetings (CERD/C/SR/1546 and 1547) on 20 and 21 August 2002 and, at its 1551st meeting (CERD/C/SR/1551), on 23 August 2002, adopted the following concluding observations.

A. Introduction

392. The Committee welcomes the fourteenth periodic report submitted by the State party and the supplementary information provided orally by the delegation. Noting that the preceding report was considered in 1986, it is pleased to be able to resume its dialogue with the State party under the normal reporting procedure. The Committee is satisfied with the constructive replies given by the delegation to the questions asked. It also notes that the report takes account of its reporting guidelines and addresses a number of the concerns and recommendations set forth orally during the last meeting with representatives of the State party in August 2001.

B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention

393. The Committee notes that Mali is currently facing serious economic problems, which, given the structure and geographical distribution of its population, represent obstacles that may hinder the State party's efforts to implement the Convention.

C. Positive aspects

394. The Committee notes that the present periodic report contains many positive aspects. In particular, it provides useful information on Mali's ethnic make-up and gives reassurances concerning solutions to the situation in the north of the country. It also contains useful information on the socio-economic context and the problems posed by poverty. The legal and institutional framework and the competent authorities in the area of human rights are, furthermore, well explained.

395. The Committee notes with satisfaction that Mali is a party to a range of international human rights instruments and has recently ratified the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and ILO Convention No. 138 concerning the minimum age for admission to employment.

396. The Committee welcomes the establishment of a National Advisory Commission on Human Rights, a Ministry for the Advancement of Women, Children and the Family, and the office of Ombudsman. It also welcomes the original initiative of convening a "democratic discussion forum", on 10 December each year.

397. The Committee welcomes the information concerning human rights education as part of the training given to State officials, the promotion of national languages, the development of press freedom and the growing role of NGOs in Mali.

D. Concerns and recommendations

398. The Committee notes with concern the social and cultural inequalities that continue to affect rural populations. It regrets that the present report does not provide information on access to development for the various ethnic groups or on the distribution of wealth among those groups, in particular nomadic peoples.

399. The Committee would appreciate receiving information on implementation of the national poverty reduction programme launched by the Government in September 1998.

400. While noting the information provided by the State party on the ethnic composition of the population, the Committee would like fuller information on the representation of the various ethnic groups in public bodies.

401. The Committee notes that, despite the detailed information provided on the constitutional and legislative instruments prohibiting racial discrimination at the national level, the report gives no examples of their practical implementation or of the opportunity of invoking the Convention directly before the domestic courts.

402. The Committee notes with concern the lack of information concerning complaints, prosecutions or judgements relating to offences of racial discrimination. The Committee recalls that the absence of complaints or prosecutions for acts of racism in a country is not necessarily a positive sign, for no State is immune to manifestations of racism.

403. The Committee invites the State party to provide information on the status of the Convention in the legislation of Mali and on the possibility for private individuals to invoke the provisions of the Convention directly before the domestic courts. It would also like to receive information on the practical application of the instruments prohibiting racial discrimination and on the number of complaints and prosecutions relating to acts of racism.

404. With regard to the problem of double discrimination, the Committee would like to know, in light of its general recommendation XXV of 20 March 2000 and of the relevant provisions of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, what measures have been taken or are envisaged to help those at particular risk, especially children and women.

405. The Committee also invites the State party to provide fuller information in its next report on the following issues: (a) the situation of those who are particularly at risk, especially children victims of exploitation, talibé and garibou children, and women in rural areas; (b) measures taken to eradicate the practice of female genital mutilation; and (c) the impact of AIDS and other endemic diseases and the measures envisaged to control and prevent them.

406. In light of its general recommendation XXIX of 22 August 2002 and bearing in mind the explanations provided by the delegation concerning the practice of sinangouya and the relative nature of the caste system, which does not hinder social mobility in Mali, the Committee would like to receive information on the approach the State party intends to take regarding the persistence of the consequences of a traditional caste system that could give rise to descent-based discrimination.

407. It is noted that the State party has not made the declaration under article 14 of the Convention and the Committee recommends that consideration be given to doing so.

408. The Committee recommends that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6, of the Convention, adopted on 15 January 1992 at the Fourteenth Meeting of States Parties to the Convention and endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 47/111.

409. The Committee recommends that the State party should take into account the relevant parts of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action when implementing the Convention in the domestic legal order, and that it should include information in its next periodic report on action plans or other measures taken to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action at the national level.

410. The Committee suggests that the State party should consult with NGOs when preparing its periodic reports. It also recommends that the reports should be widely disseminated to the public at large as soon as they have been submitted, and that the Committee's concluding observations should be publicized in the same way.

411. The Committee recommends that the State party's fifteenth and sixteenth periodic reports be submitted in one document, due on 15 August 2005, that it should be a complete report and that it should address all the issues raised in these concluding observations.


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