Mali: Former Minusma Employees Still Await Severance Pay Over a Month After Mission’s Departure

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More than a month and a half after the official conclusion of the Minusma’s presence in Mali, former employees of the mission are still awaiting compensation for the loss of their jobs.

Over ten years, the Minusma employed thousands of Malians. According to official figures from June 2023, there were 859 employees of the UN agency when the Malian transitional authorities demanded the mission’s departure, which was completed six months later.

From highly educated professionals in Bamako offices to drivers, interpreters, and logisticians in the field from Mopti to Kidal, they all found themselves out of work. Moussa*, for instance, was hired by the Minusma in northern Mali in 2013, and his contract ended on December 31st last year. “Until December 31st, I received my salary regularly, without interruption,” he testified.

“Today, what remains to be paid are primarily severance benefits, calculated based on seniority and the number of unused vacation days. There is also the pension, contributions that the employer and the employee make each month to the retirement fund of the mission. The normal deadline was 45 days after the termination of the contract, but some received these benefits, while others did not. We do not understand these delays, and there is no official communication,” he explained, expressing concern because he “needs this money” to support his family, pay his rent, as well as “food, medication, and also for other dependents.”

The Minusma, an Economic Environment

The United Nations did not provide explanations at this stage for these payment delays. For ten years, former Minusma employees enjoyed salaries above the national average. Today, like Moussa, many are struggling to find work. Some also express concerns for their security, particularly in areas where jihadist groups have strengthened their presence.

The Malian transitional authorities have pledged to mitigate the security, social, and economic consequences of the Minusma’s departure, which, in addition to its direct personnel and subcontractors, created an economic environment that is difficult to compensate for, especially in the areas most affected by insecurity.

Friction with Bamako

Recall that Bamako had requested the departure of the Minusma in June 2023, believing that the UN peacekeeping mission was not adequately contributing to securing the country against terrorist groups. The Malian transitional authorities were also irritated by reports from the Minusma’s human rights section regarding allegations of abuses against the Malian army and its “partners.”

On several occasions, the transitional authorities had denounced what they considered to be a “political instrumentalization of the human rights issue.” This was notably the case with the release of the UN report on the military operation carried out in the village of Moura in March 2022. The investigation published by the United Nations accused the Malian army and its Russian auxiliaries of summarily executing more than 500 people, in complete contradiction with the official version: 203 dead, all jihadists, according to the Malian army’s assessment.


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