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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.