Malian Association for Deportees
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Citizen assemblies: Strengthening social cohesion among internally displaced persons in Bamako

Conflicts in northern and central Mali continue to provoke massive population displacements, with inhabitants forced to abandon their homes to seek refuge in localities where the security situation appears more stable. There are approximately 370,000 displaced people in Mali, including more than 4000 in Bamako, with many of them living in informal sites without access to sanitation, security, or safe housing.

In July 2022, the Malian Association for Deportees held three “Citizens’ assemblies” in these sites with the participation of the Noyau Dur Association. These assemblies sought to combat prejudices about conflict in Mali, promote peace and strengthen the resilience of displaced persons who have experienced violent conflict. More than 150 people contributed to the assemblies with their perspectives and experiences.

Several participants spoke of current conditions in these sites lacking organization, shelter, and sanitation, despite the extensive work of the Malian Ministry of Health and Social Development and the involvement of the Red Cross, as well as other organizations. More than humanitarian aid and livelihood distribution, displaced persons spoke of their need for support in developing revenue-generating activities while awaiting their return to their places of origin.

They spoke primarily about their experience in conflicts, often testifying to the violence they suffered, as well as their experience on the road and the difficulties they faced once in Bamako. These testimonies led them to reflect on the ways to promote social cohesion and defuse tensions between conflict-affected communities, as well as highlighting the needs of displaced persons. Participants proposed the establishment of inter-community dialogue, forgiveness, and reconciliation, but stressed that none of this would be possible without a strong and independent justice process.

The AME will continue to engage with displaced people to make their voices and perspectives heard, in order to ensure their rights and promote social cohesion.

Assemblées citoyennes dans les sites de Niamana, Sogoniko et de Sénou dans le cadre du projet pilote «Jeunesse active en contexte de crise», composante «SOS vulnérabilité», avec le soutien de Dalida, à travers la Fédération Action Aid International/ “Citizen assemblies” in the sites of Niamana, Sogoniko and Sénou as part of the pilot project “Jeunesse active en contexte de crise,” funded by Dalida through the Action Aid International Federation.

Tuesday 2 August 2022

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