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On Mali, UN Speaks of Rights Due Diligence, Coup Could Pass, Corruption to Blame

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 10 -- When UN human rights official Ivan Simonovic returned from Mali, he listed a series of officials he had met with and a visit to the town of Mopti.

   Inner City Press asked Simonovic about the role of coup-leader Sanogo in Mali now, and if Sanogo would pass the test of what Simonovic calls the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy. Was that Policy applied in Somali, to AMISOM and then the Kenyan Navy, which shelled Kismayo? Would those who participated in the coup in Mali pass the test?

Simonovic replied that the test began in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We should note that there, the MONUSCO mission recently flew Congolese army officials to meet with the Mai Mai militia seeking to recruit them to fight the M23 mutineers. Some due diligence.

Simonovic continued that the purpose of the Due Diligence is to encourage better future behavior. Fine, but how is the test administered, and why whom? This was not answered.

Inner City Press asked directly: would those who participated in a coup pass the test, as Simonovic and presumably the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights understands it?

Simonovic replied that a coup is "political," and so the UN test could be passed, absent grave human rights violations. Bloodless, then, is the way to go.

Simonovic went on to say that the UN Department of Safety and Security does not allow any UN travel to the northern two-thirds of the country, even humanitarian, but that people can travel freely south to Bamako and back. He said the groups in the north buy loyalty by abolishing taxes and paying the families of fighters; they have money from narcotics trafficking and ransom, he said.

    With candor Simonovic has said that pre-coup corruption was one of the roots of the problem. Will the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights follow up on this analysis proactively in other countries? Watch this site.

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