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Côte d’Ivoire, Iraq

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva

8 April 2011

(1) Côte d’Ivoire

The Human Rights teams investigating reports of killings and other human rights violations in western Côte d’Ivoire have found more than a hundred bodies over the past 24 hours in three different towns.

In Duékoué, on 7 April, they saw 15 new bodies in addition to the 229 already found and buried, bringing the total number to 244 known for sure to have been killed during the 28-29 March incident. The victims are believed to have been mostly or all of Guerre ethnicity. The Guerre have traditionally been supporters of Gbagbo, and the killings took place when fighters who support President Ouattara took control of Duékoué. Some of the victims seem to have been burnt alive, and some corpses were thrown down a well.

This incident followed an earlier one in mid-March when another 100 people of the Dioula ethnicity, including some women, were reportedly killed by pro-Gbagbo forces who were in control of Duékoué at that time.

The Human Rights team on Thursday flew by helicopter to a small town called Blolequin, to the west of Duékoué, where they found around 40 corpses. The perpetrators are said to have been Liberian militias, who spared the Guerre from other groups after separating them out. Blolequin was described by the human rights team as “a dead town.” The population has all fled, and there has clearly been a lot of looting.

The team also went to a nearby town, Guiglo , where they saw more than 60 corpses, including a number of West Africans. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonovic met yesterday with President Ouattara and two of his ministers. The issue of the killing of civilians was discussed at length. More details of the meeting will be released later in a press release but it was a very good meeting. Mr. Simonovic also spoke by phone with a senior aide of Laurent Gbagbo.

We have been receiving reports of smaller scale killings in other towns and villages which are still to be investigated.

(2) Iraq

Since the early hours of this morning we have been receiving reports of an Iraqi security forces operation in Camp Ashraf. We understand there have been some fatalities. We urge the Iraqi Government and military and security forces to exercise extreme restraint and ensure there are no further casualties.

ENDS

For more information or interviews, please contact spokesperson Rupert Colville (+41 22 917 9767 or rcolville@ohchr.org) or press officers: Ravina Shamdasani (+ 41 22 917 9310 or rshamdasani@ohchr.org) or Xabier Celaya (+ 41 22 917 9383 or xcelaya@ohchr.org)