Press release: CAFOD concerned about humanitarian consequences of military intervention in Mali
CAFOD is deeply concerned about the possible humanitarian consequences of the proposed Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) military intervention in Mali.
The military action against armed rebel groups in northern Mali could have devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people living in the area. Mali is already one of the poorest countries in the world and, along with other desperately poor countries in the Sahel region of West Africa, is in the midst of a food crisis. CAFOD urges all parties involved to vigorously pursue political and diplomatic approaches to end the conflict.
Philippe Mougin, CAFOD’s Emergency Coordinator for West Africa, says:
“There is the risk that the proposed military operation in Mali would make an already fragile humanitarian situation much worse. This is a region suffering a serious food crisis; the conflict in Mali has already forced thousands of people from their homes. It has exacerbated people’s vulnerability, when they are still recovering from the food crisis."
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is proposing to take military action against rebel groups in northern Mali. Action by ECOWAS is supported in principle by the Malian government, by the United Nations and by other countries including France and the United States.
Philippe Mougin continues: “As ECOWAS makes plans to put an intervention force together, CAFOD calls on all those involved in planning this intervention to ensure that the welfare of civilians is paramount and that people who are made homeless because of the fighting will have full access to humanitarian assistance. It is vital that all military forces take full regard for human rights, international law and child protection. The British government’s newly appointed Special Envoy to the Sahel, Stephen O’Brien, can play a crucial influencing role in this regard.”
CAFOD will be responding to any increase in humanitarian need, working with its partners Caritas Niger and Caritas Mali.
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