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Côte d’Ivoire: UN expert calls for renewed commitment to national reconciliation despite last week’s deadly attacks

GENEVA (13 June 2012) – The United Nations Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire, Doudou Diène, urged all Ivoirians and the international community to maintain their support for national reconciliation in the aftermath of last Friday’s attack that killed seven UN peace keepers, eight civilians and one Ivorian soldier.

“This attack, through its magnitude, constitutes a major challenge for the Ivorian people and the international community,” Mr. Diène said. “The Ivorian people, despite the sense of insecurity created by this attack, should respond by renewing its commitment to national reconciliation, strengthening democratic pluralism, the impartiality of the justice system and the economic and social recovery of the country.”

According to preliminary reports, on 8 June, UN peace keepers were ambushed by a significant number of unidentified armed elements as they patrolled around the city of Tai, near the border with Liberia, in response to reports of imminent attacks against the civilian population. The attack has generated thousands of internally displaced persons in the city of Tai and an influx of refugees in UN camps in Liberia.

“The authorities across the border should work together to prevent cross-border raids and attacks on the population as well as to conduct investigations to identify, arrest and prosecute the alleged perpetrators of these acts,” he said.

“I call on the international community to speed up the adjustment of the arms embargo in order to enable the Ivorian Government to respond proportionately to threats to the security of the population and to ensure that its security forces remain committed to upholding human rights,” Mr Diène added.

Earlier this year, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire reported* to the UN Human Rights Council that most human rights violations in the country resulted from the difficulty of reforming the security sector and re-establishing the Government’s authority over the country’s entire territory.

In his March 2012 report, Mr. Diène warned that many challenges remain, among others: “Restoring security throughout the country and along its borders, reforming the security sector, restoring the rule of law and justice, combating impunity, promoting reconciliation, strengthening social cohesion and the ability to live together, restoring the State’s sovereignty and re-establishing its services countrywide, reviving the economy, reducing poverty, and ensuring the protection/return/reintegration of displaced and refugee populations.”

Check the full report: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/A-HRC-19-72_en.pdf

ENDS

The mandate of the Independent Expert was established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 for a period of one year to assist the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and relevant actors in the follow-up of the recommendations of the International Commission of Inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire and the Human Rights Council, including the ones addressed to the international community. As Independent Expert, Mr. Doudou Diène acts independently from any Government or organization. He was previously the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in 2002-08.

OHCHR Country page – Cote d’Ivoire: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CIIndex.aspx

For additional information and media requests, please contact Martin Seutcheu (+41 22 928 9618 / mseutcheu@ohchr.org) or write to EICotedivoire@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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