In a briefing paper released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), thousands of people have been displaced since the military intervention on the 10th January, joining an estimated 220,000 already displaced last year. With the country in chaos, and borders closing as part of the military strategy against Islamist groups, for the thousands of civilians caught up in the conflict, few options remain.
IDMC reports that the patterns of those being displaced shows worrying trends. ‘Those being forced to flee inside Mali are caught between a rock and a hard place’ says Sebastián Albuja, Head of the Africa and Americas Department at IDMC. ‘They cannot stay where they are due to the grave insecurity caused by the conflict, yet the meagre resources and the diminished coping abilities of the government and humanitarian actors means that they faced with limited options’
In the last few days, and since Algeria closed its borders, people in the north are increasingly heading to the desert where they will face harsh conditions and real struggles over food and water, with limited humanitarian assistance.
For the majority fleeing to the government controlled areas of the south, joining the tens of thousands already displaced last year, this upsurge of newly displaced will only exacerbate pressures on an already exhausted community.
‘The conditions of their flight are extremely harsh’ says Albuja. ‘Many are fleeing on foot as they cannot afford the prices demanded on boats or buses and some of the roads are blocked’.
In its report, IDMC calls on the government to implement the framework outlined in the Kampala Convention which Mali ratified only last month. Amongst other things, it states that all parties to the conflict must ensure that internally displaced people are protected from any human rights violations and abuses.
“IDMC is especially concerned about vulnerable groups such as women, children and the injured caught up in the displacement crisis, with sexual violence and rape a worrying trend and reports of injured people too afraid to go to hospitals because of the bombings” says Albuja. ‘Last month Africa celebrated the entry into force of the Kampala Convention and its ratification by the Malian government. The Government should now use the Convention as a road map to implement an effective response for the hundreds of thousands being forced to flee within the borders of Mali in this current crisis’.
The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) is a world leader in the monitoring and analysis of the causes, effects and responses to internal displacement. Through its monitoring and analysis of people internally displaced by conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations, and natural or human-made disasters, IDMC raises awareness and advocates for respect of the rights of at-risk and uprooted peoples .
IDMC is part of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). For more information, visit our website at www.internal‐displacement.org
The following files are available for download: