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

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid