Though the situation on the front-line, currently dividing the country in two, had more or less stabilized at the beginning of April 2012 and though the parties in armed conflict observe one another without direct confrontation, civilians, on either side of the line are subject to serious human rights violations and human rights abuses. Almost 436,000 people have fled the North to seek refuge in the government-controlled area, in the central south of the country, or in neighbouring states, and those who have stayed at home are subject to the abuses of armed groups.
For three months now, as Islamist groups consolidate their hold on the conquered territories, the number of corporal punishments (amputations, floggings, stoning to death) continues to grow. These are imposed upon individuals accused of committing crimes or of failing to comply with their interpretation of Islamic law. These practices appear to be intensifying despite the demonstrations held by some segments of the local population who protested against such punishment.
Amnesty International’s research mission has also obtained information confirming the continued recruitment of child soldiers. This is the case in the North where armed groups are using children to prepare for a possible counter-offensive from the Malian army.
It is essential that all parties involved meet the standards of international humanitarian and human rights law so that civilians will no longer bear the brunt of this conflict.