HRC37 | Mali should establish an effective mechanism to implement the law on protection of defenders


ISHR calls on the Government of Mali to adopt the implementation decree for the defender protection law and ensure that the mechanism has political support and the necessary resources to function.

Mali has become the third African country to issue a national law for the protection of human rights defenders; a step that recognises the important role played by human rights defenders in the country and their need for specific protection. With the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders, the adoption of this law should be seen as a good practice to be followed by other States.

During the interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on Mali at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council, the government of Mali highlighted the challenges it is facing due to the surge in violent extremism. Furthermore, States expressed their concern over the security situation and stressed the importance of accountability of all actors.

The independent expert on the human rights situation in Mali, Suliman Baldo, expressed his gratitude to the Malian government for its support to his mandate, but he also highlighted the lack of funding of the justice sector, leaving it unprepared for the challenges at hand and hampering its efforts to correctly fulfil its duties. Baldo also expressed his concern over the restrictions defenders continue to face, despite the passing of the defender protection law.

Djingarey Maïga, a women human rights defender from Mali, told the Council that while the adoption of such law was an important step towards the protection of human rights defenders, effective implementation remained key to its success.  

“The government of Mali should adopt the implementation decree as provided by the law and establish an efficient and effective mechanism to ensure the protection of human rights defenders”, added Maïga. “This mechanism should enjoy political support, have the necessary resources to function, and assist to prevent, protect against, investigate and pursue accountability for attacks and other violations against human rights defenders’”, she continued.

The National Human Rights Institution has a key role to play in the implementation of the defender protection law. As highlighted by the Independent Expert, the Government of Mali should provide the National Human Rights Commission with the necessary resources to enable it to become fully operational and to fulfil its mandate, including as a prevention mechanism for torture.

Watch ISHR's statement here (in French): 


Read the full statement here.

Contact: Adelaide Etong at

Photo: FlickR, 



  • Africa
  • Human rights defenders
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • National HRDs laws/policies
  • Mali