News / Africa

    UN: Ivorian Human Rights Violations Mounting

    A U.N. soldier jumps out of a pickup truck after security forces loyal to strongman Laurent Gbagbo fired to disperse women protesting for a peaceful solution to the nation's political crisis near the U.N. compound in Abidjan, Mar 3 2011
    A U.N. soldier jumps out of a pickup truck after security forces loyal to strongman Laurent Gbagbo fired to disperse women protesting for a peaceful solution to the nation's political crisis near the U.N. compound in Abidjan, Mar 3 2011

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, reports human rights violations in Ivory Coast are mounting as inter-communal and inter-ethnic tensions continue to increase. U.N. officials blame most of the abuse on armed forces loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo who, the U.N. maintains, lost the recent presidential election.

    U.N. Human Rights Spokesman, Rupert Colville, says the human rights situation in Ivory Coast is rapidly deteriorating. He points to recent events that show the number of killings of unarmed civilians is going up.  

    U.N. officials say that on Thursday, security forces loyal to President Gbagbo, opened fire on a peaceful demonstration by women. Six women were killed on the spot and a 7th woman has since died. Many others were wounded.

    Colville says it is difficult to get an accurate number of deaths, but U.N. and international agencies estimate about 365 people have been killed since mid-December.   

    The United Nations recognizes Alassane Outtara as the winner of the presidential election in November but incumbent President Gbagbo has refused to cede power.

    “There is increasing evidence that both sides, forces from both sides are involved in human rights abuses, including rapes, abductions and killings," said Colville. "Families of high profile individuals known to be politically active have been specifically targeted. And, there are also reports that media organizations seen as being pro-Outtara have been threatened and as a result, six newspapers have ceased functioning, at least temporarily.”  

    Colville says hate messages are continuing to be broadcast against the U.N., leading directly to attacks on U.N. staff and vehicles.

    The human rights and humanitarian situations in the Ivory Coast have steadily worsened since the disputed Presidential elections.

    Both sides have set up competing governments with competing armies. Colville says High Commissioner Pillay, is concerned civilians are being used as pawns in this ongoing battle.  

    “The High Commissioner is also very concerned at the cutting off of electricity and water supplies to the north of the country. That is the part of the country that is allied with Mr. Ouattara," Colville said. "We have also received reports that a previously unknown group calling themselves The Invisible Commando are preventing civilians from leaving the Abobo suburb of Abidjan and other suburbs as well and are effectively using civilians as human shields to prevent attacks by forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo. ”  

    Colville says the United Nations is particularly concerned that families are essentially confined to buildings such as churches and other public places, with no humanitarian supplies. He says they are unable to leave.

    The U.N. refugee agency estimates more than 200,000 people have fled from certain areas in and around Abidjan, the commercial capital of Ivory Coast, and are displaced.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.