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Child Rights obligations of armed non-state actors in Mali: The limitations of the UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism in addressing grave violations against children in armed conflict
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

With the changing nature of conflict in which most armed conflicts today are carried out within – as opposed to between – states most of the grave violations against children are committed by armed non-state actors. This thesis examines when armed non-state actors can be held accountable to child rights violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and International Human Rights Law (IHRL). It does so by applying Professor Jann Kleffner’s critical analysis of the constructions of the binding nature of the Law of Armed Conflict and IHRL on organized armed groups to one Islamist and one Non-Islamist armed non-state actor in Mali. Furthermore it examines the way that the UN Security Council mandated Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) has addressed grave violations committed against children’s right to protection in Mali since the start of the conflict in January 2012.

The analysis establishes that there are different ways to hold armed non-state actors, such as the two groups studied in the case of Mali, accountable for violations against both IHL and IHRL. This can either be a) through the responsibility of the individual member of the armed non-state actor to comply with IHL and IHRL, b) because of the obligations entailed due to the exercise of de facto governmental functions over a territory, c) as a matter of customary international law because of international legal personality or d) because of the consent by the armed non-state actor to comply with IHL and IHRL.

The MRM is one example by which armed non-state actors are targeted, at the same time as states, when committing grave violations against children. The thesis establishes that not all the authors of violations in Mali from the UN Secretary General annual report on children and armed conflict are stated in the annex listing parties responsible for such violations. Whether this is politically motivated and considerations are taken not to include actors - parties to the peace process - cannot be established with certitude. The three actors listed are all fighting the government of Mali, whereas the Malian armed forces and the pro-government militias - included in the reports for verified grave violations – do not appear as parties listed as responsible for such violations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 36 p.
Keyword [en]
armed non-state actors, international humanitarian law, international human rights law, Jann Kleffner, children and armed conflict, UN SC resolution 1612, UN Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, Mali, Mouvement National de Libération de l’Azawad, Ansar Dine
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-305858OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-305858DiVA: diva2:1039324
Subject / course
Human Rights
Educational program
Master Programme in Human Rights
Available from: 2016-10-25 Created: 2016-10-23 Last updated: 2016-10-25Bibliographically approved

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