Press Release on the Destruction of Cultural and Ancient Monuments in the Malian City of Timbuktu


The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission), through the Chairperson of its Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, is monitoring with concern the prevailing state of insecurity in the north of the Republic of Mali.

The African Commission expresses its utmost concern over the destruction and desecration of the mausoleums of Muslim saints and other ancient sites of the mythical city of Timbuktu.

The African Commission underscores the fact that these sacred monuments classified by UNESCO as a world heritage are a symbol of the greatness of Africa. They are an eloquent testimony to the significant role played by Africa in the history of humanity. Although found in Mali, they instil in every African a sense of existence and pride. The African Commission further reaffirms that the libraries of Timbuktu are an ancient heritage of Africa’s past and constitute an important part of African civilization.

The African Commission joins the international community in expressing its dismay and concern over such shameful and disgraceful acts.

The African Commission condemns in the strongest possible terms such barbaric and unspeakable acts which it considers as war crimes and crimes against humanity and which are inconsistent with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other African and international legal instruments on human rights and international humanitarian law.

The African Commission welcomes the decision by UNESCO to place the mausoleums of Muslim saints in Timbuktu on its list of endangered world heritage sites


The African Commission calls upon the Malian authorities, the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and the international community at large to take urgent measures to put an end to such violations and bring the perpetrators before the competent courts. The African Commission further supports their efforts towards finding a lasting solution to the conflict in the north of the country.


                                                                                    Banjul, 10 July 2012