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June 13th, 2019

NDP Statement on the Upsurge in Violence in Mali and Canada's Disengagement from UNMISMA

Guy Caron (Rimouski-Neigette–Témiscouata–Les Basques), NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, and Randall Garrison (Esquimalt–Saanich–Sooke), NDP National Defence Critic, issued the following statement:

“During the night of June 10th, the village of Sobame Da was the scene of atrocious events: over 100 people were killed, many more were injured, and the entire village was burned down. This attack occured in the context of increasing violence between the Dogon and Peuhl communities, and follows the March 23 massacre of 160 Peuhl people in the region.

This new outbreak of violence in Mali proves the need for a Canadian presence within the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Mission for Stabilization in Mali (UNMISMA). Our forces provide medical evacuation services – MEDEVAC – that are essential to the peacekeeping mission. UNMISMA provides medical and humanitarian relief, protects schools and hospitals, and maintains essential food supply lines. A gap in MEDEVAC services would jeopardize the entire UNMISMA operation and delay the peace process.

Canada has been engaged in this mission since June 2018. Yet in March, the Liberal government announced the withdrawal of Canadian troops by July 31, 2019, to be replaced by Romanian troops. The NDP supports the United Nations' request that Canada maintain its troops throughout the summer. In the current context, it would be totally irresponsible to abandon the Malian people to their fate for six months while they wait for reinforcements to arrive. Canada must continue its involvement in Mali to support and secure civilians who suffer daily from extreme instability.

We call on the government to exercise good judgment and fairness to help stabilize the region in partnership with its international allies.”