Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for 23 Oct 2008

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- UNOCI provides transportation for identification and voter registration process

- UN delegation meets school children in Yopougon

- IDPs still in Guiglo centre receive deadline to leave Electoral Process

UNOCI has agreed to provide transportation for staff and equipment for the identification and voter registration process as part its support for the electoral process and in order to reinforce the progress that has been made so far. The Mission will provide 34 of its vehicules with drivers to the Independent Electoral Commission in order to facilitate the movement of the Commission's local representatives in charge of supervising the identification process in Abidjan and Bouaké. UNOCI will also rent public transport vehicles and is currently in negotiations with private companies. Meanwhile, the identification and voter registration process has been suspended until 28 October 2008. The Ivorian authorities say that this would allow them time to train agents, increase the number of teams and fully explain the process to the population.

Information and sensitisation

As a prelude to UN Day celebrations in Côte d'Ivoire, a delegation comprising representatives of UNOCI and UN agencies, yesterday spent half a day with pupils and teachers at the Collège Frelec in the Abidjan district of Yopougon, to further explain the mandate and activities of the Mission and UN agencies in Cote d'Ivoire, to help end the crisis and promote development in the country. The founder of the school, Mr. Sanogo Djakaridja, welcomed the UN initiative, describing it as a historic action, which provides the pupils with an opportunity to understand the meaning of peace and development.

Meanwhile, celebrations for UN Day have already started this week in the regions. In Guiglo, a debate on "Transition from Humanitarian to Development" involving local authorities, civil society groups and the UN, was organised by OCHA and UNDP, while in Korhogo, UNOCI sections and UN agencies made presentations on their mandates and activities and answered questions on the various concerns of the local population.

Arms embargo

UNOCI peacekeepers yesterday successfully carried out arms embargo inspections at the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles' (FAFN) 61st Battalion in Odienné, at its Mobile Gendarmerie in Korhogo (north) and at its Unit in Ferkéssedougou (north). However, a team which went to the 4th Gendarmerie Squadron in the Abidjan district of Koumassi was denied access. UNOCI is following up on the reasons for the denial.

Humanitarian

Following violent demonstrations by youths against the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their plantations in Béoué village in the Bloléquin area (west) on 21 October 2008, the situation was reported calm today, with the returnees slowly getting back to normal life. Meanwhile, IDPs who are still in a centre for the displaced in Guiglo (west), which was officially closed in May 2008, have been given a deadline by local authorities to leave the premises by 31 October 2008. The IDPs are refusing to return to the places of origin and are insisting they are given immigrant visas to go to the United States of America.

Human Rights

The Regional Human Rights Office in Abidjan has launched an investigation into an attack and an attempted attack against two voter registration centres in the commercial capital on 15, 18 and 20 October 2008. It has been allegedly that the attacks were carried out by armed sympathizers of the Young Patriots at two sites, at the Ecole de la Chambre de commerce and Collège Moderne in the Plateau district in Abidjan. In Plateau, a group of armed individuals forcibly entered the centre where they threatened and beat up employees and customers and destroyed property before taking away voter registration equipment, computers, mobile phones and 80,000 FCFA (approx $160). A criminal investigation was opened by the police but no arrest has been made so far. Similarly, on 15 and 18 October 2008, a group of individuals attempted to attack the voter registration centre located in the Ecole de la chambre du commerce but failed.