Over the past decade, thousands of civilians in Mali have been killed as a result of ongoing conflict, and almost a million people have been forced to flee their homes as violent attacks have plagued large swathes of the country.
In 2012, armed rebels allied with jihadist groups defeated the Malian army in a series of battles across the country’s northern regions. A subsequent coup d’état in Bamako further destabilized the situation, as the authorities lost control of two-thirds of the country’s territory. In late April 2013, the UN Security Council authorized the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation, known by its acronym MINUSMA, with a mandate to protect civilians. However, the Mission has consistently struggled to implement this mandate, especially as the security situation has sharply deteriorated in Mali’s more populated central regions since 2015. Indeed, the number of civilian casualties has risen every year for each of the past four years.
Since 2013, CIVIC has been undertaking independent research, analysis, and advocacy to support MINUSMA’s efforts to strengthen its ability to protect civilians. Currently, CIVIC’s peacekeeping research in Mali is looking at how MINUSMA’s newly developed early warning and rapid response (EW/RR) procedures seek to improve the protection of civilians through the Mission’s ability to make decisive and timely interventions. In addition, CIVIC is continuing its research and advocacy in Mali to advance the Peacekeeping program’s six overarching objectives.
This work builds on CIVIC’s previous research in Mali, which has highlighted:
- How the lack of military helicopters and other air assets significantly undermines MINUSMA’s ability to protect civilians
- How MINUSMA’s Strategic Planning Unit helps the Mission foster a more integrated approach to threat analysis and decision-making
- How the first three years of the conflict affected the civilian population
CIVIC is also championing the protection of civilians in Mali and the wider Sahel through its G5 Sahel Joint Force program.