Protecting civilians in armed conflict


< Back to the other countries

In early 2012, having seen a number of Tuareg rebellions over several decades, Mali experienced the resurgence of several armed non-State actors (ANSAs) which rapidly took over the northern part of the country.

The insurgency was exacerbated by the influx of heavily armed deserters who had fought in the 2011 Libyan civil war.  Conflict subsequently erupted between Tuareg separatists led by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and Islamist ANSAs. MNLA was pushed out of all the major cities.

In early 2013 an international military campaign spearheaded by France stopped the advance of Islamist ANSAs and regained control of northern regions. Some ANSAs agreed to a fragile truce with the Government while others have continued attacks.

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and human rights violations, including child recruitment, sexual violence and the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel (AP) mines have been reported in Mali, where more than 450,000 civilians have been displaced by the recent conflict.


Following initial dialogue with the MNLA on IHL during 2012, Geneva Call conducted a field assessment in 2013 to consider opportunities for engagement with other ANSAs.

Banning AP mines

Geneva Call’s dialogue with the MNLA includes discussions on the AP mine ban.

Promoting international humanitarian norms

MNLA leaders contacted Geneva Call in late 2012 to seek advice on ways to adapt their conduct in compliance with IHL.

Main achievements

  • Geneva Call has maintained open dialogue with ANSAs operating in Mali, notably the MNLA, and conducted an initial field assessment in late 2013 which will produce a strategy for potential engagement with other ANSAs in Mali and in the region.
  • Geneva Call has raised the awareness of the MNLA leadership in regards to the ban on AP mines and the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).


In Mali, Geneva Call works or has worked with the following armed non-State actors:

Organization Active Thematic areas
Landmine ban Child protection Gender issues Humanitarian norms
Coordination des Mouvements de l’Azawad (CMA) Yes
Plateforme des Mouvements du 14 juin 2014 d’Alger Yes
Click on the ticks to display the signed Deeds of Commitment

The ANSA is being engaged by Geneva Call on this thematic area


The ANSA was engaged by Geneva Call on this thematic area


The ANSA has signed the Deed of Commitment on this thematic area

  • is a directory of armed non-State actors commitments. Check out the documents concerning this country on
Strategy 2017-2019


  • Twitter : @genevacall
  • Facebook :
  • LinkedIn
  • Youtube : GenevaCall2
  • Flickr : GenevaCall
  • Medium : GenevaCall