News / Africa

HRW: Gbagbo Security Forces Committing Gross Rights Violations in Ivory Coast

People fearing for their safety evacuate the Abobo district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, February 24, 2011
People fearing for their safety evacuate the Abobo district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, February 24, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Anne Look

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says African Union mediators in Ivory Coast should work to end what it calls "gross violations of human rights" by security forces loyal to incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo, as violence continues to escalate in the country's commercial capital and troubled western region.

The United Nations Mission to Ivory Coast said Thursday that Ivorian troops clashed with northern rebels early Thursday in the country's west near the border with Liberia.

The U.N. Mission said this fighting constitutes a breach of a cease-fire agreement made six years ago and marks an escalation of the crisis now nearing the end of its third month.

Sporadic fighting between supporters of the country's rival presidents, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, continues in the country's commercial capital, Abidjan.

Human Rights Watch says it has documented killings and abductions by President Gbagbo's security forces in the past few days.

An armed group loyal to Mr. Ouattara has claimed responsibility for an attack on government forces in the Abobo neighborhood of Abidjan on Tuesday in which it says 27 people were killed.  The government army denies that claim and says only one soldier was killed.

Hundreds of residents could be seen fleeing the city's Abobo neighborhood Thursday where residents reported more gunfire.

Incumbent president, Laurent Gbagbo, has refused to step down following a presidential run-off in November, which the United Nations and the country's electoral commission said he lost to rival, Mr. Ouattara.

Mr. Gbagbo's government says a constitutional council investigation concluded that Mr. Gbagbo won the election.

A high-level African Union delegation met with both men in Abidjan this week and is expected to announce its plans for resolving the political stand-off in the next five days.

Human Rights Watch is calling on those African leaders to enter these final days of mediation with "eyes wide open" to what it says is an ongoing "campaign of violence" by President Gbagbo's security forces against Mr. Ouattara's supporters, members of ethnic groups from northern Ivory Coast, Muslims and immigrants from neighboring countries.

HRW researcher, Matt Wells, says attacks on these real and perceived Ouattara supporters continue to escalate.

"In recent days, we have documented that they have continued to commit some really grave abuses against real and perceived supporters [of Ouattara], including firing live rounds and even rocket-propelled grenades into crowds of mostly peaceful demonstrators, as well as abducting people from an Abidjan hospital during the light of the day, their bodies later found by family members in a morgue," said Wells.

Human Rights Watch says African Union mediators should call for end to human rights abuses and the incitement to violence on both sides.

November's presidential election was meant to reunite the country following a 2002-2003 civil war. Instead, it led to a political crisis that has only deepened divisions and looks dangerously close to reigniting the conflict.

Human Rights Watch says it has documented fresh recruitment by both forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara rebel fighters.

"In Abidjan itself, there has been heavy recruitment by those loyal to Gbagbo of new militias as well as mercenaries, particularly from Liberia, but Forces Nouvelles, the long-time rebel army under the control of Guillaume Soro, has likewise recruited," added Wells.  "They have remobilized the vast majority of those that were demobilized after the conflict. There has been a real escalation in recent weeks of preparing on both sides should civil war resume."

The United Nations says post-electoral violence has killed nearly 300 people and prompted at least 35,000 Ivorians to flee to neighboring Liberia.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week 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.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid