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Malian consulate in Paris occupied due to "corruption" and EU-Mali agreement
3.1.16
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RFI reported on 31 December 2016 that an occupation of the Malian consulate in Paris undertaken by the migrant collective 'Clean Hands' had been continuing for a week, after the group entered the building on 23 December.

One of the occupiers, Samba, told RFI that there were no consular staff remaining in the building, and that: "We have changed the reception into a refreshment bar," and that people were using the space to eat and drink.

The collective has denounced the "corruption" within the consulate and problems and delays with obtaining documents and information.

Another occupier, Issa, said: "Here in the consulate there is so much corruption inside. In fact, people are revolting because of that, we're fed up."

According to another report, published today, a speech by Mali's president has failed to satisfy the occupiers:

"We expect real developments on site here notably the question of the NINA card which is always linked to the obtaining of the passport while there are many people who have appointments and who must travel in emergencies to Mali or to other countries. This is impossible if you do not have the passport.

We have heard the speech of the president, but we want specific acts at the consulate to put an end to this situation. It is not his speech that will put an end to the occupation. These are very clear claims. Young people said that people should have freedom of access to all documents."

The RFI report noted that rumours of a readmission agreement between the EU and Mali were the "last straw" for the collective. Tapa Konté, the spokesperson of the collective, said:

"What we have now is that, signed or not signed, we do not agree with this agreement as such. We say to our leaders: come to us, let us sit around the table, try to propose something to Europe, and offer them another vision."

The Malian government denied reports that it had signed a readmission agreement with the EU - to which it has long been publicly opposed - and the European External Action Service subsequently issued a statement saying that what had in fact been signed was a "common communiqué" that "reflects our joint commitment to work together" and:

"includes the commitment to ensure protection for migrants transiting Mali, to fight against smugglers and traffickers of human beings; and to support readmission and return as well as the reintegration of migrants who return to Mali, as well as their communities."

Sources

Le collectif de migrants «Mains propres» occupe le consulat du Mali à Paris, RFI, 31 December 2016

Pour mettre fin a l'occupation du consulat du Mali a Paris : Les Maliens veulent du concret, Malijet, 3 January 2017

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