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Two returnees sent back to France as Mali rejects EU laissez-passer document
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On 29 December 2016, the Malian government produced a statement announcing its refusal to recognise the validity of the EU laissez-passer document used to return two of its citizens, who were sent back to France following their arrival in Bamako on 28 December 2016. The Malian authorities also invited air carriers to refrain from transporting its citizens on the basis of recognition of the validity of such documents, noting that they will be made to fly them back to Europe.

Statement by the Government of the Republic of Mali

"Two (02) people, holders of European laissez-passer documents arrived in Bamako on Wednesday 28 December 2016 at around 8:00 p.m. on flights Aigle Azur ZI 521 and Air France AF 386. The Malian security services adopted measures to return them to the border. Consequently, they were placed on board of the same aeroplanes again and left the Malian territory.

For a long time, the Government of the Republic of Mali has clearly indicated to its European partners that it opposes the use of European laissez-passer documents to expel our compatriots or people who are presumed to be Malians.

This use of the European laissez-passer documents contravenes international conventions and does not enable Mali to lend the assistance which is required to our compatriots, nor to prevent the expulsion of non-Malians to Mali nor, especially, to ascertain that our compatriots are not mistreated, that all their rights are respected and their dignity is safeguarded.

In any case, the Government of the Republic of Mali could not accept that some people, who are merely presumed to be Malians, may be expelled to Mali on the basis of such a document, and clarifies again that only a passport or a Malian laissez-passer may provide a right of access to Malian territory.

Consequently, the Government of the Republic of Mali invites all air carriers not to allow people who are holders of European laissez-passer documents on board of their flights travelling to Mali, as they will returned to the border on the same flights.

All our partners will be reminded through the appropriate channels of all these provisions, about which they have already been notified.

Bamako, 29 December 2016

For the Government, The Minister of Statistical Economy and Communications, and Government Spokesman."

Use of the European laissez-passer by certain European countries constitutes a violation of the Vienna Convention

"Statement by the Association Malienne des Expulsés, 6 January 2017

On Wednesday 28 December 2016 the Malian security services (Air and Border Police) enacted the refoulement of two people who arrived in Mali on the same day in flights Aigle Azur ZI 521 and Air France AF 386. These two people who were presumed to be Malians were holders of European laissez-passer documents as travel documents although such documents do not have any legal and judicial basis.

The use of European laissez-passer documents by certain EU countries constitutes a violation of the Vienna Convention of 24 April 1963 on consular relations, insofar as these migrants expelled to Mali were not in possession of documents issued by the consular services of the Republic of Mali.

We recall that the Malian government, through the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, for African Integration and for International Cooperation, had already warned the French authorities against using European laissez-passer documents. A verbal note was issued to announce this on 27 june 2015, envisaging the systematic return using the same aeroplanes of people expelled to Mali without being in possession of documents produced by the Consulate of Mali.

The Association Malienne des Expulsés (AME, Malian Association of Expellees) welcomes this and congratulates the government of the Republic of Mali for these returns to France of the two people who were expelled to Mali. AME exhorts the government and encourages it to continue to act for the sake of respect for the rights of migrants and for a frank relationship between the two States.

AME invites the Member States of the European Union to give up on the use of European laissez-passer documents and for the Malian government to immediately put an end to its operations to identify our compatriots in Europe.

Finally, AME is concerned about the fate of migrants who have been expelled on the basis of European laissez-passer documents and who currently live in Mali.

The President, Ousmane DIARRA"

[Translations by Statewatch]

See: The
original versions of both statements (in French) available on the Dutch website All Included, which also has a copy of the European laissez-passer document issued by the French authorities;

See: The website of the Association Malienne des Expulsés and the 6 January 2017 statement, L'utilisation du laissez-passer européen par certains pays européens constitue une violation de la Convention de Vienne:

And see also: EU-Mali: EEAS statement on the signing of the common communiqué

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