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Côte d'Ivoire Crisis

Updated on February 2, 2013

A lasting conflict

Post electoral violence, and accountability of both parties in Côte d'Ivoire for their respective human rights violations. The call for prosecution on both political parties in Côte d’Ivoire is necessary says the Human Right Watch organization. According to an April 2011 report, forces loyal to President-elect Alassane Ouattara killed hundreds of civilians, raped more than 20 alleged supporters of his rival, Laurent Gbagbo, and burned at least 10 villages in Côte d’Ivoire’s far western region. Forces loyal to ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, killed more than 100 presumed Ouattara supporters as Ouattara’s forces advanced in their March campaign. Upon taking power, Ouattara should urgently open a credible and impartial investigation into serious abuses by both sides and ensure that those responsible at all levels are brought to justice.

The United Nations has learned that human rights violations, including rapes, abductions and killings, are escalating amid the ongoing post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. Ex-President Laurent Gbagbo, and his close associates are under investigation according to a statement by Côte d’Ivoire’s new President Alassane Ouattara. According to human rights officers, over 400 people have died in the post-election violence since December 2010. It has come to the attention of eye witnesses that security forces on both sides are often targeting people by ethnicity.

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported that in more recent attacks seven women we’re targeted and killed by Gbagbo’s security forces in March of this year. Another four people we’re killed the following week at a peaceful protest to mourn the murdered women. The act of using rape as a weapon of war is unfortunately not a new ideology to the region. Daniel Bekele, the African director at Human Rights watch said “killing and raping of civilians is no way for Ouattara’s forces to end this conflict. The newly elected President should fulfill his public pledge to investigate and prosecute abuses by both sides if Côte d’Ivoire is to emerge from this horrific period.” Accountability much like in the Rwandan genocide does not rest in the hands of one militia or security force but rather on both ends of the spectrum. There has been no certain course of action by the international community regarding this matter. "To understand the tragic events in Côte d'Ivoire, a line cannot be drawn between north and south, or supporters of Gbagbo and Ouattara," Bekele said. "Unfortunately, there are those on both sides who have shown little regard for the dignity of human life." The widespread killing and phillaging relentlessly continued without effective interational intervention and attention. Human Rights Watch documented the killing of civilians by pro-Ouattara forces in at least a dozen villages in and around Toulepleu and Bloléquin, including summary executions, dismemberment, and immolation. While the majority of the region's ethnic Guéré residents fled in anticipation of the Republican Forces' attack, those who remained were subjected to collective punishment for the group's perceived support for Gbagbo. Whether Ouattara is a hero or a villain is debatable, but what everyone can agree on is the rapid end to all violence in Côte d'Ivoire.

As of April 28th 2011, Ivory Coast banks we’re open today for the first time in ten weeks. A sense of normalcy hints at possible progress and positive momentum from the horrific atrocities of the past months. However the accountability for the human rights violations is a key function for that progress.

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