Mali : La Via Campesina demands ECOWAS to stop border closures and sanctions penalizing the Malian people

La Via Campesina | Bagnolet, May 20, 2022.

Protest movements have strongly shaken Mali in recent months and led to the deterioration of the security situation in the north and center of the country. The contested results of the last legislative elections, the demands of various workers’ unions calling for better working conditions and other protest movements, led the military to take power.

Several political parties and civil society organizations have been working in coordination with the transitional authorities since the priority is to ensure security throughout the national territory.

“Today we have a historic responsibility: to transcend our differences to achieve security in our country and thus preserve territorial integrity and create conditions for socioeconomic development that allow us to offer a better future to our posterity,” said the soldiers.

The heads of state and governments of the countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed sanctions on Mali from January 9, 2022 after 18 months of transition and delayed organization of the elections for the return of civilians to power.

The closure of the borders with neighboring ECOWAS countries, with the exception of Guinea, which rejected the sanctions, is causing concern among the Malian population.

Indeed, Mali is a continental country, so its supply of basic necessities depends a lot on trade with neighboring countries such as the Ivory Coast or Senegal.

The ECOWAS decision has a special impact on peasant organizations and their members, who represent 80% of the working class and who pay the highest price of insecurity, which produces forced displacement to other territories and prevents them from peacefully dedicating themselves to their socioeconomic activities. This without considering the unjust deaths, the destruction of towns, the daily massacres of women, children and girls who remain in total anonymity.

Caught between various fronts (jihadist groups, self-defense militias, ECOWAS sanctions…), the peasants do not know who to turn to.

Access to production inputs is a central problem for the peasantry. Hunger threatens the rural population. Access to food for consumption, with the isolation of rural areas and transportation costs, is an important equation for the country’s authorities.

Today these sanctions strongly contribute to the degradation of the living conditions of the great Malian people in general and the rural population in particular.
As Via Campesina we stand in solidarity with the peasants, workers and the Malian people.

We extend our solidarity to the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations of Mali (CNOP, for its French acronym) and other social movements calling for systemic change to address the crisis.

We call on ECOWAS to lift the sanctions and allow the people of Mali to live a better life.

We call on international institutions to spare no effort to relieve the Malian people.
La Via Campesina calls on international allies of social movements and communities to stand by the Malian people and support their demands to find immediate solutions to the economic and social problems of peasants and other rural workers.

Globalize the struggle, internationalize hope!!

Viva La Via Campesina!!