Security Council Expert Group briefed on protection of civilians in Cote d'Ivoire and in Darfur
"In the first half of July, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) briefed the informal Security Council Expert Group on the Protection of Civilians on the issues pertaining to the protection of civilians in Cote d'Ivoire (8 July) and in Darfur (13 July).
On the basis of information received from humanitarian and human rights actors in the field and at the headquarters, OCHA raised the following key protection concerns:
In Cote d'Ivoire:
- The impact of hostilities on civilians, specifically during the electoral crisis, with attacks on civilians, extrajudicial and summary executions and destruction of property committed by both parties in the West of the country and in Abidjan;
- The human rights violations committed in the wake of hostilities, including arbitrary arrest and deprivation of liberty, torture, sexual violence, looting and extortion, committed by members of the Forces Republicaines de Cote d'Ivoire (FRCI) and pro-Gbagbo militias fleeing to Liberia;
- Protection concerns related to displacement, including violence against internally-displaced persons, the need for durable solutions, and the need to address land issues, especially in the West, in order to create conditions conducive to sustainable returns;
- The impact of hostilities on children, with a sharp rise in child recruitment during the crisis as well as other grave violations committed against children, including killing and maiming;
- Ongoing sexual violence perpetrated mostly by civilians, but also by armed men during the crisis;
- The need for Security Sector Reform and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration programmes, the FRCI being composed of several different groups with no clear structure and chain of command, which has led to poor discipline.
- The direct impact of ongoing violence on civilians, with a reprisal of hostilities between the Sudanese armed forces and rebel armed groups in December 2010 which led to indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including aerial bombardments by Governmental forces and ground attacks against villages by all parties;
- Protection concerns related to displacement, including insecurity in camps for internally-displaced persons and occupation of land and property by nomads and militia groups in areas of return;
- Impediments to humanitarian and UNAMID access to conflict affected areas, including administrative restrictions imposed by the Government of Sudan, denial of access by all parties to the conflict, attacks against humanitarians and attacks against peacekeepers;
- Specific protection concerns pertaining to children, with reports of ongoing child recruitment in rebel armed groups and Sudanese armed forces, and other grave violations committed against children;
- Conflict-related sexual violence, targeting mostly internally displaced women.
The Security Council's Expert Group on the Protection of Civilians is an informal forum chaired by the United Kingdom that was established at the beginning of 2009, in which OCHA - on behalf of the humanitarian community - brings to the attention of the Security Council current key protection concerns in a particular context on its agenda."
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.