Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for 20 Nov 2008

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News and Press Release
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Highlights

- SRSG attends special representatives meeting in Switzerland

- Identification operation continues in Bouake and Abidjan despite strike

- UNPOL and Human Rights Division investigate alleged abduction of Albino twins

Political

The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire, Y.J. Choi is currently in Montreux, Switzerland, where he is participating in the annual meeting of special representatives and special envoys of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The aim of the meeting is to review their mandates and activities and identify future prospects in that regard

Electoral process

According to the latest report on the identification and voter registration operation which was launched in Bouake on 18 November 2008, 1700 people have so far registered and the 58 centres were functioning normally. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced that 1,090,000 people have been registered since the beginning of the operation in September 2008. The operation in Bouaké and Abidjan continued without much incident today despite an indefinite strike by members of the National Union of Identification Agents. The agents are striking because they claim their salaries and allowances are lower than those paid to staff working for the technical operator Sagem.

Security

UNPOL and the Regional Human Rights Office in Bouaké are investigating allegations of the abduction three-year-old albino twin boys last week in the Dar-es-Salaam neighborhood. The mother of the twins told UNPOL that six armed people dressed in army uniforms burst into her bedroom and forced her to give them her children. She added that the armed group included a woman who claimed they had come to take the children on behalf of family members of the deceased father of the twins. UNPOL and the Human Rights Office have brought the matter to the attention of the Forces Nouvelles authorities.

Residents in Tahouaké and Guinglo, near Bangolo (west) yesterday told UNPOL that the security situation in their villages was worsening due to increased armed robberies along the area's main roads. They said that women were targeted for abuse during each attack The village chiefs said the situation had become so serious that villagers had been forced to cease all farming activities and travel. They asked UNOCI to help them improve the situation by carrying out frequent patrols.

A joint delegation comprising UNOCI military and civilian staff and representatives of the Muslim community in Korhogo today went to Kassoumbarga and Denebolo, 12 km north-west of Korhogo (north), to try to prevent a clash between residents of the two villages. According to the Mission's electoral officers working in the area, the basis of the conflict is political but could escalate beyond that if not resolved quickly.

Arms Embargo

UNOCI peacekeepers yesterday successfully conducted arms embargo inspections at the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles' (FAFN) 54th Battalion in Tieningboué near Séguéla (centre-west, at its 65th battalion in Danané (west), at its HQ in Bouaké, at its Units in Boundiali (north) and Diawala near Ferkessedougou and at the Defence and Security Forces of Côte d'Ivoire's (FDSCI) 3rd battalion in Anyama (south).

Human Rights

Following the intervention of the Regional Human Rights Office in Odienné on 18 November 2008, a woman and her 17-month-old daughter together with a 14-year-old boy detained at the gendarmerie in Odienné (north) since 21 September 2008 and 6 November 2008 respectively were released.

On 17 and 18 November 2008, the Human Rights Division organized a series of human rights training sessions for 42 soldiers from the Bangladeshi Battalion (BANBATT) in Man (west) and six UNPOL in Bondoukou (east). The sessions focused on the Division's mandate and how peacekeepers can help by monitoring and reporting human rights violations on the ground.