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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid