News / Africa

    Civil Society Groups Urge Urgent Action on Ivory Coast

    Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch says the UN must increase the capacity of its peacekeeping mission to allow it to enforce its mandate

    Youth supporting sitting president Laurent Gbagbo receive military style training in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 23, 2011
    Youth supporting sitting president Laurent Gbagbo receive military style training in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, March 23, 2011

    Multimedia

    Audio
    • Philippe Bolopion of Human Rights Watch spoke with Butty

    James Butty

    A coalition of 32 international and African civil society organizations says greater measures are urgently needed to protect civilians and meet fundamental humanitarian needs in Ivory Coast.

    In a report released Friday, the group says the humanitarian situation caused by the ongoing conflict in Ivory Coast has reached a critical level.

    Philippe Bolopion, the U.N. advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, one of the 32 organizations that prepared the report, says the U.N. Security Council must increase the capacity of its peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast to allow it enforce its mandate.

    “We think that the situation is extremely worrying right now in Cote d’Ivoire, and we really feel that the international community has not really stepped up to the plate as it should. People are being killed daily in Ivory Coast, and we are really on the brink of a resumption of a full-fledged civil war, and the victims of the conflict so far have been mainly civilians. And so we think it’s really time for the [U.N.] Security Council and the U.N. system in general to react very strongly,” he says.

    Refugees, who fled the post-election instability in Ivory Coast, wait to be registered at a camp in Liberia
    Refugees, who fled the post-election instability in Ivory Coast, wait to be registered at a camp in Liberia

    Since its beginning, the Ivory Coast conflict has reportedly killed more than 460 civilians and caused dozens of politically-motivated rapes as well as illegal detentions.

    Bolopion says while supporters of both incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and internationally-recognized President Alassane Ouattara have committed human rights violations, Gbagbo supporters have been responsible for more serious violations," he said.

    “There is no question, from our research, that the forces under the command of Laurent Gbagbo have been responsible for extremely serious human rights abuses. We actually think that they qualify as crimes against humanity. Now, on the other side, on the pro-Ouattara side, there is a new emerging pattern of abuse which might not be serious in terms of numbers so far but which match the other side in terms of cruelty,” Bolopion says.

    In its report, the coalition calls for those responsible for serious rights abuses to be held accountable for their crimes.

    Leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), after their meeting Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria also urged the United Nations to strengthen the mandate of its peace mission in Ivory Coast.

    Bolopion says the coalition of civil society organizations are also urging the U.N. Security Council and its member states to equip the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast to enable it to effectively protect civilians

    “In my view, the peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire has already a very strong mandate. It has a mandate that allows it to use force to protect civilians. What they need to do is better implement this mandate when it comes to protecting civilians,” Bolopion says.

    The group also urges the U.N. Security Council to expedite the arrival of 2,000 additional peacekeepers that were authorized several weeks ago and have not arrived and provide them with the proper equipment and training.

    Bolopion says the coalition is also urging the Security Council to sanction Laurent Gbagbo for his role in the ongoing crisis.

    “We also think that the Security Council needs at this point to sanction Laurent Gbagbo for his involvement in the current situation. We think that the Security Council should adopt an asset freeze and a travel ban to and should increase the pressure on people around him who might be involved," Bolopion says.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora