forum. 8 years. Eight years of military operations have been carried out in the Sahel region, but peace and security have not been achieved. Thousands of civilians and soldiers have died, which is shocking. For eight years, Operation Crescent Dunes, which killed 55 French soldiers, has rarely been the subject of public debate. As the Court of Auditors emphasized in a recent report, this is nothing more than France’s entire foreign policy in the Sahel, which is still dominated by security methods to a large extent, in order to undermine development efforts in particular.
Fifty associations, non-governmental organizations, researchers, representatives of the Sahel diaspora, trade unions, and Sahel civil society actors are convinced that another approach is possible and necessary, calling for a more inclusive way to prepare for the future” Crescent” Debate on views on reforming French Sahel policy.
This debate is urgent, because the militarization of the Sahel-especially under the initiative of France-has not resolved any problems at the security level; we have even witnessed the situation continue to deteriorate. The “neutralization” of some armed group leaders often claimed by the French General Staff no longer conceals the shocking reality: since 2015, violence related to these groups has doubled every year. The impact on civilians is huge: nearly 2 million people had to flee the violence in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, and 13.2 million people needed humanitarian assistance.
This spiral of violence is even more questionable when the French military cooperates with the behavior of the national security forces. In Mali, more civilians (35%) will be killed by soldiers in 2020 than by so-called jihadist groups (24%).Minusma [la force de maintien de la paix de l’ONU] The French army was also held responsible for the death of 19 civilians in an operation in Mali on January 3, 2021.
But by rejecting these conclusions and opposing an independent investigation, France sent a terrible signal that helped normalize impunity. In the Sahel region, people’s distrust of the authorities is deeply imprinted. Although it has often turned a blind eye to the authoritarian deviations in the region, France must make no compromises in the context of human rights violations and violations of human rights. Without it, it can only fuel anti-French sentiment in the region.