News / Africa

    Amnesty International: Displaced Ivorians Fear Going Home

    Ivorian toddlers Prencia Gosse, left, and Laure Djiejian, who along with their families fled ethnic and political clashes, play alongside piled belongings in a classroom at the Catholic Mission in Duekoue, in western Ivory Coast (File Photo - May 30, 2011
    Ivorian toddlers Prencia Gosse, left, and Laure Djiejian, who along with their families fled ethnic and political clashes, play alongside piled belongings in a classroom at the Catholic Mission in Duekoue, in western Ivory Coast (File Photo - May 30, 2011

    Hundreds of thousands of refugees who fled their homes in Ivory Coast during the recent political crisis are too scared to go back, according to the international campaign group Amnesty International.

    “We went in Cote d'Ivoire last June and we saw that there are still many people who don't dare to return home because there is a reign of fear put in place by the security forces and by a militia of Dozo, who are traditional hunters, who are frightening people, intimidating people, so that these people cannot return home and retrieve their lands,” said Salvatore Sagues, a researcher for Amnesty International on Ivory Coast.

    He says Ivorian leader Alassane Ouattarra must put an end to the violence.

    Former leader Laurent Gbagbo was ousted in April after losing a violent power struggle that followed a disputed election last year.

    Gbagbo is now under house arrest but Amnesty says militia loyal to Ouattara has not disbanded. As a result, Amnesty says, many people have not returned home.

    The reports quotes United Nations figures that over 600,000 Ivorians remained displaced at the end of June.

    Phil Clark, an expert on Ivory Coast at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, says Ivory Coast is suffering from the same problems today as it was before last year’s disputed elections.

    He says mass migration to cocoa-producing regions means tensions are high.

    "So I think what we have seen in the last couple months is those very difficult issues of migrant status and land have come to the fore," said Clarke. "And if you lay on top of that Ouattara's forces wanting to wipe out Gbagbo's supporters who remain in the country you have a very toxic mix."

    Ouattara signed a decree Wednesday for a commission of inquiry into crimes committed after last year’s election. He says he wants to put Gbagbo and his aids on trial for war crimes.

    Clarke says Ouattara must also work hard to fix the root causes of trouble in Ivory Coast.

    "There also needs to be a much deeper economic and political response to what's going on, recognizing that many of these problems, especially in the west of the country, run very deep and simply changing the leadership at the national level isn't going to deal with those problems," said Clarke.

    Ouattara has vowed that justice will be applied to all those responsible for violence following the election.

    He says his supporters will not get special treatment.

    You May Like

    Turkey, West in Standoff Over Syrian Refugees

    Turkish government refuses to admit refugees, the first in a wave of civilians fleeing offensive by Assad regime in northern Aleppo countryside

    Jailed American Testifies About Islamist Involvement in Mumbai Attacks

    David Headley testifies via video link that Pakistan-based Islamic terror group made two failed attempts to mount strikes in Mumbai in months prior to coordinated assault

    These Are the 10 Smartest US States

    A new report breaks down the nation's best and brightest

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.