News / Africa

UN Reports on Murder and Rape in Ivory Coast

Supporters of Alassane Ouattara point to what they say are the burnt remains of three alleged soldiers loyal to president Laurent Gbagbo, in the Abobo district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast (File Photo - March 7, 2011)
Supporters of Alassane Ouattara point to what they say are the burnt remains of three alleged soldiers loyal to president Laurent Gbagbo, in the Abobo district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast (File Photo - March 7, 2011)

United Nations investigators have found evidence that crimes against humanity may have been committed in Ivory Coast both by forces loyal to the West African country's ex-president Laurent Gbagbo and by forces loyal to his opponent and successor, Alassane Ouattara.

Three investigators were sent to Ivory Coast by the United Nations Human Rights Council in May. Their job was to probe alleged attacks against the population since the country’s presidential election last November.

What they found, the panel said Friday, was evidence of possible crimes against humanity having been committed on both sides of the political divide.

They said rape and murder were carried out through generalized and systematic attacks, targeting people based on their assumed political sympathies.

The investigator’s report is set to be discussed at the Human Rights Council next Wednesday and until then they have declined to speak with VOA about its findings.

But they’re not the first to say that forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s current leader, Alassane Ouattara, may have committed major crimes in recent months.

The international rights groups Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both accused Ouattara’s followers of targeting suspected supporters of former leader Laurent Gbagbo.

Deputy Director for Africa at Amnesty, Véronique Aubert, says that Ouattara must bring the situation under control. "He's the president and that's why we expect him to issue clear public instructions to security forces to comply with Ivorian law and international human rights law," she said.

On Thursday the U.N. mission in Ivory Coast accused Ouattara’s supporters of carrying out attacks in the south and west in areas where there is known support for Gbagbo.

The U.N. human rights officer in Ivory Coast, Guillaume Ngefa demanded an immediate and impartial investigation into the attacks.

When Ouattara was sworn in last month he vowed to end the violence in Ivory Coast and to investigate alleged atrocities.

Christian Kramer, research assistant for the LSE IDEAS Africa Program at the London School of Economics, says Ouattara is in a difficult situation because he came to power by relying on a number of armed gangs and rebel groups that he did not have control over.

"Now he has to wrestle the control back from these rebel forces because these groups, these armed gangs and to some extent mercenaries, are now coming back to him and saying 'we helped you into power and now we would like you to show some gratitude for that,'" said Kramer.

Kramer says now as president, Ouattara is responsible for the country’s security and must take charge.

And he says the U.N. report is part of an important process that may lead to reconciliation. "We're now actually looking at a country that is finding itself willing to make a new start. So the reports that are coming out of the big cities all over the country in Ivory Coast are saying people are back on the market, people are finding their way back into their lives. So it can even be argued that the UN report, as damning as it may seem at the first look, at the same time it's a major component and a very important component of bringing the country back into peace and restarting the social and economic and political life of the country," he added.

The U.N. investigators said Friday that they were unable to put a precise figure on the death toll since November’s disputed election. But they estimate that around 3,000 people have been killed.



You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs