Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New Report on Displacements and Conflict in Ivory Coast

This post originally appeared on John Campbell's Africa in Transition

Amnesty International’s latest report, released late last week, on Ivory Coast, “We Want To Go Home, But We Can’t: Cote d’Ivoire’s Continuing Crisis of Displacement and Insecurity,” is a grim reminder of an ongoing crisis that has largely disappeared from the pages of the western media. The report focuses heavily on continued insecurity, widespread displacement, and killings based on ethnicity.

The authors write that forces associated with the government of President Alassane Ouattara and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro have continued reprisal attacks against ethnic groups and villages perceived as supporting ousted president Laurent Gbagbo and are responsible for much of the country’s insecurity since mid-May of this year. Further, the Ouattara government has had little success in reaching out to Gbagbo’s core supporters.

The report notes that until May when Ouattara defeated Gbagbo, militias from both sides were responsible for the violence that left hundreds if not thousands dead and, according a recent UNHCR estimate, five hundred thousand people internally displaced (pdf). Another one hundred and forty four thousand were forced to flee to neighboring Liberia, itself facing potentially divisive elections this year. Given the continued insecurity, displaced people are afraid to return home, contributing to a dire humanitarian situation that sooner or later is likely to have repercussions in the West African region and require the engagement of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States.

Read the entire report here.

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