New sanctions risk plunging the people of Mali further into humanitarian crisis, warns Oxfam

Publié: 19th janvier 2022

In reaction to the EU and US support to Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) new sanctions against Mali, Oxfam together with 12 NGOs called upon the international community to protect the people of Mali. The agencies also urged sanction bodies to unequivocally commit to applying humanitarian exemption to allow life-saving aid to reach all those in need.

Mobeen Ajaib, Interim Director of Oxfam in Mali said: “These sanctions come at the worst possible time when Mali is dealing with conflict, alarming food insecurity and pressure from the International Monetary Fund to drastically cut public spending to recoup economic losses from the pandemic. This cocktail of bad news could trigger the worst inequality crisis in decades.”

Last week, the European Union supported the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the implementation of collective sanctions on Mali, which include closing borders and imposing a trade embargo, as well as cutting off financial aid and freezing the country’s assets at the Central Bank of West African States.

The United States has also underlined its support for ECOWAS, while France ―in its first weeks of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union― has suspended flights to Mali.

These sanctions will have devastating consequences for the people and the humanitarian situation in Mali.  The population of Mali already faces the worst food insecurity seen in 10 years: One in three people ―or over 7.5 million people― are in need of humanitarian aid. These new restrictions could further hamper people’s ability to access humanitarian assistance and basic social services, especially as 70% of Mali's food is imported and 1.2 million Malians are already facing a food crisis. Mali is strongly dependent on external assistance to finance basic social services. In the area of health, for example, external donors covered 33 percent of total health expenditure in 2019.

To continue their work effectively, humanitarian actors must have unfettered access for the transportation of life-saving goods including food and medicine, as well as guarantees to transfer funds into the country without violating the sanctions.

Franck Vannetelle, Country Director of the International Rescue Committee’s in Mali, said: “Despite more than a third of the country’s population being dependent on humanitarian aid, organisations working in Mali already face severe access constraints. It’s imperative that the international community keeps responding to people’s urgent needs, and that any new sanctions have concrete humanitarian exemptions. These must be monitored and implemented, or the most vulnerable people in Mali will pay the price.”

Notes aux rédactions

The full list of signatories includes:

  • International Rescue Committee
  • Action Against Hunger
  • CARE
  • CECI
  • Danish Refugee Council
  • HELP
  • Mercy Corps
  • Norwegian Church Aid
  • Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Oxfam
  • Plan International
  • Terre des Hommes
  • World Vision


Simon Trépanier in Sudan | | +249 99 180 3627 | WhatsApp:  +39 388 850 9970

For updates, please follow @NewsFromOxfam and @Oxfam

Please support Oxfam's Coronavirus Response Appeal.