Mali Protection Analysis Update

This Protection Analysis Update covers the period of January to June 2021 and is the result of an in-depth and continuous analysis process of the protection environment in Mali. This analysis is based on the new guidelines of the Global Protection Cluster providing an analytical framework for protection (PAF), and which makes it possible to identify major protection risks, to understand their impact on civilian populations and to identify the capacities available to mitigate them; and this with the final aim of informing response and advocacy strategies. This analysis was developed on the basis of data available from the various protection monitoring systems of the Cluster and AoRs as well as secondary analyses and external reports.

The main points to remember are:

1. Between January and June 2021, a total of 3,580 violations were documented through the protection monitoring system, which represents an increase of 58% compared to the previous semester. A very sharp increase in violations was observed in the last quarter, mainly characterized by population movements and attacks on villages recorded in the center of the country.

2. The number of verified serious violations against children continued to increase in 2021. While the recruitment and use of children is the most frequently verified violation with 70 children allegedly associated with armed forces and groups (EAFGA) identified from January to June 2021, child abductions experienced a sharp increase with 39 child victims of abduction between January and June 2021. This worrying trend seems to be part of a wider dynamic of kidnappings and forced disappearances of civilians reported since 2020, the causes of which are mainly linked to armed conflicts and intercommunal violence.

3. The continued rise in cases of GBV is explained by the deterioration of the protective environment for women and girls. Out of 3,744 cases of GBV reported between January and June 2021, more than half are rapes (27%) and physical assaults (26%) taking place while carrying out daily activities such as collecting water or firewood, and travel on roads or around IDP sites. The high prevalence of early marriage is fuelled by the closure of schools and widespread insecurity.

4. Risks are high on roads where IED / mine incidents often affect a large number of civilians who are using public transport. The threat of explosive devices also poses a major constraint on humanitarian access as well as restricting people’s access to basic social services and means of subsistence.

5. Attacks on the right to property are the category of violations most documented by the protection monitoring system (39%). Objects and goods essential to the survival of civilians are deliberately targeted. The burning of granaries and crops, the looting or killing of livestock, as well as extortion and illegal taxation have become commonplace.

In addition to a general analysis of the protection environment and of major protection risks faced by civilians in Mali in the first half of 2021, this edition also includes a thematic focus on besieged villages by armed groups, restrictions of people’s freedom of movement and denial of access to basic services – which have become frequent war tactics in intercommunal conflicts in the center of the country. The Protection Cluster produced a complete analysis of this phenomenon as well as identified good practices and possible solutions to respond to an increasingly worrying protection issue.