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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

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