News / Africa

UN Refugee Chief Warns Ivory Coast Conflict Could Spillover to Liberia

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres (file photo)
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres (file photo)

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, warns the conflict in Ivory Coast could spillover to Liberia and have a major destabilizing affect in all of West Africa.  The refugee chief has just returned from a series of missions, including one to Liberia at the border with Ivory Coast. 

U.N. refugee chief, Antonio Guterres, calls Ivory Coast one of the most dramatic displacement crises in the world.  As of now, the U.N. refugee agency has registered more than 120,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberia and several thousand more in Ghana, Togo and Guinea.

Guterres notes the conflict has displaced between 750,000 and one million people inside Ivory coast.  In addition, he says, thousands of people are stranded in the country’s commercial capital, Abidjan.  This, as forces loyal to rival presidential contenders, Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara fight a ferocious battle to the end.  

He says he is very concerned Liberia’s successful transition to democracy after years of conflict might be derailed by the civil war in neighboring Ivory Coast.  And, he warns the situation could have wider implications.

“It is absolutely essential to support Liberia in order to avoid any kind of destabilization that the situation in Cote d’Ivoire might have over the very successful, until now, Liberian process of peace-building and democratic buildup," said Guterres. "But, there is a concern in relation to the possible spillover of the conflict.  Let us hope this will not be the case and I hope also that the conflict ends quickly in order for this kind of effects to be contained because a prolongation of this conflict in Cote d’Ivoire could have a major destabilizing effect in the whole of West Africa.”

Civilians flee with their belongings in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 5, 2011
Civilians flee with their belongings in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, April 5, 2011

Guterres says this problem feeds into another major concern.  He says the political conflict in Ivory Coast has generated new ethnic tensions.  This, he says, was highlighted in the battles that took place in the West before Outtara’s forces moved into Abidjan.

“You have all heard about the massacres in Duekoue can be triggering an inter-ethnic tension and  that, of course will last beyond the conflict and this is a very important source of conflict,” said Guterres.  

The International Committee of the Red Cross reports more than 800 people were killed in a single day around a church compound in the town of Duekoue.  The attackers are believed to be supporters of Alassane Ouattara.

Guterres notes there are about three million foreign workers in Ivory Coast, a large majority from Burkina Faso.  Though many of these so-called migrants have been born in Ivory Coast and their families have lived there for generations, they have been denied citizenship.  

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Guterres, says the citizenship issue could cause problems in the future as it has in the past.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid