Tuareg rebels in Mali. Aid groups are alarmed over the potential humanitarian impact of an African-led military mission in Mali approved Dec. 21 by the U.N. Security Council. Photo by: Magharebia /

Aid groups are alarmed over the potential humanitarian impact of an African-led military mission in Mali approved Dec. 21 by the U.N. Security Council.

The International Support Mission in Mali, which will be backed by the United States and the European Union, is set to assist local authorities in retaking rebel-held towns in northern Mali and help restore the country’s unity. The mission’s initial mandate is one year.

Tennongovernmental organizations, however, are warning that any military operation in the country could further escalate violence and result to “an increase in humanitarian needs and the continued displacement of people.”

To avoid further complicating the humanitarian situation in the affected Mali regions, the groups urged the U.N. Security Council to ensure all military forces involved in the mission will be properly trained on international humanitarian, refugee and human rights law.

The groups, which include OxfamCare InternationalChristian Aid, the International Rescue Committee and World Vision International, also appealed for donors to provide the funding needed to address humanitarian needs in Mali. Donors should also be prepared to provide more if necessary, the groups said.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.