Security Council condemns human rights violations in Côte dIvoire

Following a briefing by the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, Bertrand Ramcharan, on a Commission of Inquiry report, the Council President for May, Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, told journalists: “The members of the Security Council firmly condemn the violations of human rights.”They note that putting an end to impunity is important for resolving the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire and urge that those responsible for violations of human rights, in particular those committed on March 25 to 26 in Abidjan, be held accountable.”Council members also urged the immediate establishment of the National Human Rights Commission called for in the 2003 Linas-Marcoussis peace agreement that ended fierce fighting between the Government and the opposition Forces Nouvelles. Under that agreement the two parties also pledged to set up a government of national unity.They welcomed the intention of Mr. Ramcharan’s Office to establish another Commission of Inquiry to look into violations going back to September 2002, announced today in Geneva, and urged full support for the new Commission’s investigation.”The members of the Security Council expressed their determination to consider rapidly the concrete steps that could be taken to ensure that those who are responsible for all the violations of human rights perpetrated in Côte d’Ivoire since September 2002 are held accountable for their actions,” the Pakistani Ambassador said.The conflict in Côte d’Ivoire began in September 2002 when some former army officers tried to take over the government.In March of this year the opposition defied President Laurent Gbagbo’s ban on protest marches. Dozens of people died during sporadic shooting in the main commercial centre, Abidjan, according to what was then the UN Mission in Côte d’Ivoire (MINUCI). One person was also killed in a protest in the capital, Yamoussoukro.A January 2003 report from a team led by Mr. Ramcharan contained allegations about mass graves, cases of detentions and disappearances and refers to torture and sexual violence, including gang rape, about all of which the Government and the opposition have traded charges.Between 1,000 and 2,000 people were killed in the civil war, many by summary execution, and many politicians and businessmen were murdered in killings, which, according to testimony, were “organized by death squads and private militias,” the report of 2003 said. Video of Council President with the press [5mins]

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