A female soldier with a blue helmet surrounded by women and girls.
Mali/Sahel: Publication

Protection of civilians in the conflicts in Mali

6 August 2021

This Legal Note highlights principal aspects of international humanitarian law relating to the protection of civilians in the armed conflicts in Mali.

The parties to the armed conflicts in Mali have the obligation to respect the rules and customs of international humanitarian law (IHL) applicable to non-international armed conflicts. This legal framework ensures the protection of civilians in a situation of armed conflict. The parties to conflicts are, therefore, obliged to distinguish between civilians and combatants, as well as between civilian and military objectives. They also have to protect civilians against other forms of violence related to conflicts.

In order to strengthen the protection of civilians against the violence related to the conflicts in Mali, this Note highlights principal protection aspects to which they are entitled to under IHL, and the efforts by the Malian state and international actors to ensure this protection.

Photo: A Rwandan Blue Helmet of the UN mission 'Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation au Mali' (MINUSMA) patroling the streets of GAO in Northern Mali to protect civilians. UN Photo/Marco Dormino, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0