Mali: Children detained and tortured by security forces

 Five Malian children have been detained in a military detention centre for over seven months.  They are being held in poor conditions at the Gendarmerie camp in Bamako, along with adult detainees.

The five children between the ages of 15 and 17 were discovered by an Amnesty International delegation led by the Secretary General Salil Shetty, who expressed his horror and dismay at seeing the traumatised young boys detained in poor conditions. He declared this to be a clear violation of national and international law and insisted that the children must be released immediately.

The 2013 Amnesty International Agenda for Human Rights in Mali, documents various examples of children’s human rights violations.
One of the five children documented in the report is a child soldier who joined the Movement for Oneness and Jihad (MUJAO), while the other four were arrested because of their alleged links to armed groups. 

The 15-year-old impoverished child who joined MUJAO was in dire need, and only did so to earn a salary, as he heard that the movement was paying people.  However, after months of not being paid he left.  He was subsequently arrested by the Malian security forces in his home village, Kadji, which is situated near Gao.

Another one of the children, a 16-year-old boy, was arrested when he came out of a shop and a grenade went off across the road.  The security force accused him of throwing the grenade and has held him in detention for a few months. The children were blindfolded and subjected to serious beatings, with their hands and feet tied together.  They were also burnt with cigarettes on their bodies. 

Amnesty International Secretary General explained “The Malian authorities assured us that they were not detaining any child soldiers but this is clearly not the case. The government signed a protocol with the UN in July 2013 for the release, transfer and protection of children associated with armed groups and they need to respect this.”

You can read the Amnesty International Agenda for human Rights here

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