Ivory Coast troubles far from over

We’ve heard little or nothing about Ivory Coast in recent months so you may be forgiven for thinking that the country’s violence is over and Ivory Coast has become a stable cocoa-making, coffee-growing oasis of calm. Unfortunately, and perhaps unsurprisingly, that is far from the case. The grim reality is that months after the tumultuous events around the elections, hundreds of thousands of people are still living in makeshift shelters, too scared to return to their homes. One of the main reasons – as a new Amnesty International report points out – is because security forces and a state-backed militia are creating a climate of fear, and so preventing about 500,000 people from returning to them homes. As BBC News Online highlights, Amnesty reports that militia loyal to new President Alassane Ouattara have not disbanded and are targeting, killing and intimidating supporters of ex-President Laurent Gbagbo.In Duékoué’s Carrefour area, where hundreds of civilians were killed at the end of March this year, very few Guéré have dared return to their homes. Those who have returned have told Amnesty that armed Dozo fighters on motorcycles now ominously ride up and down the main street of the area. One Dioula survivor told Amnesty how Liberian mercenaries killed 24 people in the village of Godjiboué (south-west of Abidjan) on 6 May. He said: “When they arrived the villagers were panicking, every one was trying to escape and run into the bush. My father, who was old and couldn’t run quickly, took refuge in a house. The mercenaries chased him and shot him dead as well as another person.” The war may be over and Alassane Ouattara well and truly at the helm of the country‘s political affairs, but Ivory Coast cannot be fully restored unless its citizens feel confident enough to return to their homes, or any part of the country that they wish.  Nor cannot it be truly effective unless there is in place a security force that is impartial and who can protect all Ivorian citizens regardless of their ethnic group.Read more about Amnesty’s new report here.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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