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
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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More