Mali’s junta postpones constitutional referendum scheduled for March 19

 Mali’s ruling junta will postpone a constitutional referendum but maintain a previously agreed timeline to re­turn to civilian rule, a government spokesperson said in a statement read to the press on Friday.

“The transitional government informs national and international opinion that the date of the ref­erendum scheduled for March 19, 2023, will be slightly postponed,” Abdoulaye Maiga said.

The referendum is a milestone on the road to elections promised for February 2024.

Mali’s ruling junta said last Sun­day that it was expelling the head of the human rights division of MINUSMA, the United Nations (UN) mission there, giving him 48 hours to leave the country.

The foreign ministry had de­clared Guillaume Ngefa Atono­dok Andali, head of MINUSMA’s human rights section, persona non grata, said a statement issued by government spokesman, Colo­nel Abdoulaye Maiga.

“This measure comes after the destabilising and subversive ac­tions of Monsieur Andali,” added the statement, which was also read out on national television news.

Andali had taken it upon himself to decide who were the representatives of civil society, ig­noring the authorities and national institutions, the statement added.

“Andali’s bias was even more evident during the last review of the United Nations Security Council on Mali”, the statement added.

On January 27, Aminata Cheick Dicko criticised the regime at a special UN Security Council brief­ing on Mali.

Its mission also included the protection of civilians, contribut­ing to peace efforts and defending human rights. But the security situation has continued to deterio­rate in the West African country.

The military regime has re­peatedly blocked MINUSMA’s attempts to investigate growing reports of human rights abuses carried out by the armed forces.

Two workers with the Inter­national Committee of the Red Cross were kidnapped in northern Mali, the organisation said, the lat­est abduction in the troubled West African country.


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