Côte d'Ivoire

Daily brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Friday 06 Apr 2007

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Highlights

- High-level mission led by Assistant Secretary-General Hedi Annabi arrives on Monday;

- Meeting between OIC Abou Moussa and President Laurent Gbagbo;

- UNOCI looking for suitable campsite in the eastern town of Abengouoru;

- Human Rights Division helps set up more human rights clubs;

- Continued tension between farmers and cattle-rearers worries UNOCI rights officials

Political

A high-level delegation led by UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Missions, Hedi Annabi, arrives in Abidjan from Monday to assess the contribution the United Nations needs to make with regard to the implementation of the March 4 Ouagadougou Agreement so as to ensure that peace returns to Côte d'Ivoire. Mr Annabi is scheduled to have meetings with Ivorian governmental and military authorities, representatives of political parties, and international donors in Abidjan, and with the facilitator of the Agreement, Burkinabé President Blaise Compaoré, in Ouagadougou. He will also participate in the thirteenth ministerial meeting of the International Working Group (IWG), to be held on 13 April in Abidjan.

The Officer in Charge of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire, Mr Abou Moussa, met today with President Laurent Gbagbo for the first time since the appointment of Forces Nouvelles leader Guillaume Soro as Prime Minister. They discussed the latest political developments in Côte d'Ivoire as well as the 13th ministerial meeting of the International Working Group, which is to be held on 13 April. Mr Moussa also briefed the Ivorian president on the high-level UN mission scheduled to visit Côte d'Ivoire from Monday.

Arms embargo

A patrol comprising BANBATT and UNPOL which went to Bobi village to carry out an arms embargo inspection was kept waiting for two hours by soldiers of the Defence and Security Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FDS-FN) in Seguela. The soldiers said that they had not received any instructions from their hierarchy for UNOCI to carry out the inspection. Eventually contact was made with the FAFN headquarters in Bouake and the inspection was carried out.

Peacekeepers from the Abidjan Reserve Teamsite and Embargo Cell yesterday carried out an arms embargo inspection at the Gendarmerie Units in Koumassi and Abidjan Airport, while military observers, NIGERBATT, UNPOL and BANBATT carried out similar inspections in Tengrela, Yamoussoukro and Daoukro.

Military

Military observers and BANBATT yesterday carried out a reconnaissance mission in the eastern town of Abengourou to find a suitable site for a UNOCI camp. They met with the deputy mayor, who told them that the local authorities had no objection to the peacekeepers redeploying in the town and that they were ready to provide them with accommodation.

The commander of Sector East has been briefing his troops on the proposed changes to the Zone of Confidence as a result of the Ouagadougou Agreement. He told them that the Sector will have nine observation points.

Human Rights

On 4 April, as a result of the intervention of the Regional Human Rights Office in Odienné, the leadership of the FDS-FN in Odienné returned to Ms Doumbia Siaka the sum of 100,000 FCFA (US$ 200.00) which FDS-FN soldiers had taken away from her when they arrested her on 31 March 2007 in the village of Kimbrela North. On 1 April, the Human Rights Office met with the Deputy Zone Commander, the Commander of the Gendarmerie and Mr. Cissé Sindou of the Secretariat of the Forces Nouvelles to discuss the rampant impunity enjoyed by FDS-FN elements in the area.

On 4 April, with the assistance of the Human Rights Office in Yamoussoukro, the local Section of Association for the Protection of Human Rights (APDH) established a Human Rights Club (HRC) in the city of Divo, located 100 kilometers west of Yamoussoukro. The objective of the club is to raise human rights awareness among the youth and the population in general. The Office provided technical assistance to local partners to establish two HRCs in the city of Oumé in January 2007 and one at the "Lycée Mermoz" of Yamoussoukro in 2006.

The Human Rights Office in Bouake has expressed concern over the continued tension between farmers and the Peuhl community in a number of villages. The first of a series of reconciliation meetings between the two groups was organised by FAFN Commander Sherif Ousmane on 4 April 2007 and a second is scheduled for 18 April.

On 5 April, the Human Rights Office in Odienné attended a regional humanitarian coordination meeting that also discussed various human rights issues affecting the region of Denguélé. These include access to health and clean water, food, education, the registration of children at birth and the impunity enjoyed by FDS-FN elements. Of serious concern remains the cases of criminals arrested by the FDS-FN and frequently released after a few days' detention with no further action taken. Meanwhile, the Office, in collaboration with the Direction Régionale de l'Education Nationale, established 6 human rights clubs and protection cells in primary and secondary schools in Marc.