UN: Côte d’Ivoire ceasefire breached, situation getting worse

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ABIDJAN, COTE D'IVOIRE: The United Nations warned on Thursday that the situation in Côte d’Ivoire is getting worse as human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, abductions and excessive use of force, continue.

"With the political stalemate now going into the third month, the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire is becoming more precarious," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, states in her report on the human rights situation in the West African nation.

A UN spokesman told the BBC on Thursday that there were clashes in the western village of Teapleu, breaching the six-year ceasefire between ex-rebels and government troops.

"This is a very serious issue because it would be the first time the ceasefire is broken in six years," Hamadoun Toure, the spokesman for the UN mission in Ivory Coast, told the BBC's Newshour programme.

"It will also change the nature of the tension because so far we've been witnessing violence between civilians and the army: but now if we have two armies face to face it will be very very complicated," he added.

The UN report, which was commissioned by the Human Rights Council and covers events up to 31 January 2011, documents a trend in rights violations, with almost 300 people killed. The rights violations include abductions, enforced disappearances, excessive use of force, destruction of property, incitement to violence by state television, and extra-judicial killings mostly committed by elements of the security forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo.

Côte d'Ivoire has been in turmoil since early December when outgoing President Laurent Gbagbo, who was defeated in the November run-off elections by opposition candidate Lassane Ouattara, refused to step down despite the approval from the UN and the international community.

Some 20,000 Ivorians have been internally displaced and over 33,000 more have fled to neighboring Liberia due to the violence between both sides. UN officials have warned that ethnic tensions stemming from national, racial and religious affiliation linked to the opposing camps could lead to genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.

The 2010 presidential elections were meant to be the culminating point in reunifying a country split by civil war in 2002 into a Government-controlled south and a rebel-held north.


(BNO NEWS )

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