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The Law (adopted 2018) and Decree contain several substantive rights from the Model Law, albeit in undetailed language. Regretfully, the Implementation Decree and Decision limit the law’s application to a small subset of human rights defenders.

Law N°2018-003 of 12 January 2018 regarding Human Rights Defenders

Complemented by:
Décret N°2020-0087/P-RM establishing the modalities of application of the law on human rights defenders

Which is complemented by: Decision N°2021-237/MJDH-SG of 21 Sept 2021 establishing the characteristics and modalities for granting and withdrawing the professional card of human rights defenders

Type of instrument: Law, Decree and decision
Status: (as of 1 January 2022)
Law adopted 12 January 2018
Decree adopted 18 February 2020
Decision adopted 21 September 2021.

Comments on the instrument:
The Law (the third adopted in Africa) and Decree contain several substantive rights stated in the Model Law, albeit in short and undetailed language. Regretfully, the Implementation Decree and subsequent Decision deprived the law of its effectiveness, as now it will only apply comprehensively to the small subset of human rights defenders that the government has identified as such.

Does the instrument contain specific provisions easily used to restrict human rights defenders’ rights?
Yes. Article 3 of the Decree states that human rights defenders must be provided with a professional card or badge issued by the minister responsible for human rights. The Decision implements this by requiring human rights defenders to obtain an ID card to justify their status as human rights defender. The granting of the card depends on multiple requirements, including a monetary sum and submission of documents (criminal records, a certificate of ‘life and good morals’ and association with a human-rights organisation). This places an unreasonable burden on human rights defenders, excludes multiple human rights defenders from protection under the instrument and allows authorities to arbitrarily decide who is and who isn’t a human rights defender.

Mechanism on the protection of human rights defenders established in the instrument?
Yes. The main purpose of this bill is the establishment of the mechanism, in Article 12.

Comparison to the Model Law

Below is a short summary of the instrument compared to the Model Law. For additional information and analysis by ISHR on Mali, click here.

A selection of fundamental rights for human rights defenders incorporated in the instrument (as compared to the Model Law):



Analysis / articles

Definition of Human Rights Defender



Decr 2, 3

Right to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms



Decr 4, 7, 11

Right to Form Groups, Associations, and Organisations



Right to Solicit, Receive and Utilise Resources



Right to freedom of expression and to seek, receive and disseminate Information



Decr 7

Right to access and cooperate with NGOs, government organisations and international organisations


3, 7

Right to participate in public affairs



Right to Peaceful Assembly



Right to represent and advocate


2, 4

Decr 7

Right to freedom of movement


3, 5, 11

Right to Privacy


6, 11, 14

Decr 7, 10

Freedom from intimidation or reprisal


5, 6

Decr 4, 8, 9

Freedom from defamation and stigmatisation


2, 3, 5, 11

Decr 4

State obligations regarding human rights defenders in the instrument?

Obligation to respect, promote, protect and fulfil rights of human rights defenders


11, 12

Obligation to facilitate the activities and work of human rights defenders 



Decr 6

Obligation to prevent and to ensure protection against arbitrary or unlawful intrusion, interference, and intimidation or reprisal


6, 11, 15, 16

Decr 8, 9

Obligation to investigate, provide an effective remedy and ensure reparation



Decr 5, 7

Mechanism on the protection of human rights defenders established in the instrument?
Article 13 of the Decree indicates that the protection of human rights defenders will be implemented by the National Commission of Human Rights (the country’s NHRI), a preexisting body. However it does not establish procedures for the mechanism.

Quick access

Law N°2018-003 of 2018 Décret N°2020-0087/P-RM Decision N°2021-237/MJDH-SG of 2021