Specifically, the president has waived nearly $5.9 million in Direct Commercial Sales, more than $2.3 million in International Military Education and Training, and more than $8.5 million in Section 1206 or Section 333 assistance. The president did not waive CSPA prohibitions for Mali in 2020. As a result, the country was denied $850,000 in International Military Education for FY2021.
According to the U.S. State Department, the Malian armed forces and a government-supported armed group known as the Imghad Tuareg and Allies Self-Defense Group (GATIA) have used and recruited child soldiers. Mali first appeared on the CSPA list following reports that its government provided support to and collaborated with pro-government GATIA militia in 2016, during which time the group recruited 76 children, including some as young as eleven. GATIA has continued to receive support from the Malian government despite its continued recruitment and use of child soldiers.
Government forces have also recruited and used child soldiers over the years. In 2019, it was confirmed that Malian armed forces recruited and used at least 24 children in support roles, including as couriers. The government has taken some steps to address the child soldier issue, including signing a 2017 U.N. Action Plan on the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, removing child soldiers from its armed forces and transferring a number of children into the care of humanitarian organizations, and training government officials on the protection of children in armed conflict. However, according to the U.S. State Department, Mali has not made a serious attempt to stop the recruitment and use of children by armed groups or to investigate those responsible for child soldering offenses, particularly in light of its continued support for GATIA and the recent confirmation of child soldier use and recruitment by government forces.
For more information, see the U.S. State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report and Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. More information on the situation in Mali can also be found in the U.N. Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict’s annual report and country-specific report on Mali