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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs