Mali sliding into ‘human rights chaos’

Amnesty International warned after a visit to Mali July 31 that the country is slipping into “human rights chaos,” with abuses documented in the government-controlled south as well as the rebel-held north. Amnesty documented at least one incident in the north in which a couple were stoned to death for pre-marital sex. But in the south, the army has been involved in extra-judicial killings, torture and sexual abuse since staging a coup in March, Amnesty found, demanding an investigation. The military has handed power to a civilian-led interim government, but that government appears to rule at the army’s behest. Meanwhile,  the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reports that it has “visited 79 Malian military personnel held by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA)  in the Tinzaouatène area of northeastern Mali.” A map indicates that Tinzaouatène is actually just across the border from northern Mali’s Kidal region in Algerian territory. All previous reports indicate that MNLA forces have been entirely pushed out of northern Mali by Islamist forces.