Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Friday 8 Jun 2007

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Highlights

- Cocoa revenue used to fund the Ivorian conflict, Global Witness says;

- Young Patriots end their protest in San Pedro;

- Two killed in land conflict in the Moyen Cavally region (west);

- Election officials to meet in Bouaké;

- UNHCR provides humanitarian assistance in Moyen Cavally region;

- Sixty-one military and civilian detainees released in Abidjan

POLITICAL

Revenue from cocoa sales has been used to fund the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire, according to a new report by Global Witness, which documents how opportunities for enrichment from cocoa through corruption and misuse of revenues, both by the government and by the Forces Nouvelles, continue to undermine the resolution of the crisis. The report is available at: http://www.globalwitness.org.

PROMOTION OF PEACE

The peace caravan of Young Patriots leader Charles Blé Goudé is expected in Bouaké on Saturday 16 June. The date is to be confirmed following Blé Goudé's visit to Bouaké, scheduled to take place on Saturday 9 June.

The Public Information Office in Yamoussoukro, in collaboration with the Election Assistance, Human Rights and UNPOL sections and the HIV/AIDS focal point yesterday conducted an information and sensitization forum on ONUCI's activities at the Yamoussoukro Municipal College. The ONUCI team invited the students to contribute actively to the peace process within their communities. The forum was attended by about 100 students, who will in turn pass on the information about UNOCI and the peace messages to their peers. Questions they asked related mainly to the free movement of people; the organisation of elections ; ONUCI's role in DDR and the activities of the HIV/AIDS unit with regard to people discriminated against because of their HIV status. The students also asked ONUCI to help them set up a Human Rights club in their school.

MILITARY

The Moroccan Battalion finished its 7th rotation this week. The Licorne Force in Bouaké and the GHANMED III started packing for their rotations, which will begin next week.

SECURITY

The Coordination of Young Patriots (COJEP) in San Pedro yesterday lifted road blocks they had erected since Monday in the town's main streets, SENBAT reported. The demonstrators had protested against a public broadcast tax incorporated into the electricity bill, even for households without radio or TV sets.

An ongoing land conflict between two families in the village of Nouannou, near Blolequin [western Côte d'Ivoire] has claimed the lives of two persons. According to a UNOCI military patrol, the conflict was fuelled by a court decision. A report was sent to the Sous-préfet of Blolequin.

ELECTORAL

Chief electoral officers from Sector East meet in Bouaké on 11 and 12 June for a coordination and orientation meeting, while the Independent Electoral Commission for the Vallée du Bandama Region, based in Bouaké, will meet from 11 to 16 June. Officials of UNOCI's Electoral Assistance Division are to participate in some of the sessions of this meeting.

The regional office of the Electoral Assistance Division for the Bondoukou area yesterday visited the district of Bondo, 65km northeast of Bondoukou, to meet youth and women's associations. The delegation met the prefect of Bondo, Kouyaté Zoumana, who highlighted the main problems facing his district of about 18,200 people, including poor roads, insufficient access to potable water - which forces some women to use water from swamps - and a lack of basic equipment at the health centre. The team also drew up a list of youth groups, women's associations and cooperatives in the area, and discussed the "audiences foraines" [mobile court hearings] with their representatives. District residents asked ONUCI for help to build a food-storage depot and a centre for seamstresses, rehabilitate the health centre and reactivate a literacy project initiated by the World Bank but interrupted because of the armed conflict.

HUMANITARIAN

UNHCR has provided medicine amounting to CFA 10 million [just over US $20,000] to the hospital in the western town of Guiglo, and donated an ambulance valued at 20 million CFA [over US $40,000] to the hospital of Toulepleu. It has also connected the town of Nicla to the electricity grid at a total cost of CFA 40 million [over US $80,000]. During a ceremony held on Thursday in the prefect's office in Guiglo, local authorities commended the UN agency for its actions in aid of the population.

HUMAN RIGHTS

On 7 June, at a ceremony held in the Galliéni military camp in Abidjan, Defence Minister Michel Amani N'Guessan and Mamadou Koné, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, in

the presence of UNOCI's Human Rights Division and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), formally released 61 detainees - 40 civilians and 21 military - from prison pursuant to the Amnesty Ordinance of 12 April 2007. The military prosecutor indicated to the Human Rights Division that only one Forces Nouvelles member, Koné Pinon, was among those released. He added that no other civilian or military element arrested in connection with attacks against military targets in Gohitafla, Anyama and Akouédo in 2005 and 2006 had claimed affiliation to the FN. Although the ordinance of 12 April expressly states that war crimes and crimes against humanity are not covered by the amnesty, the exceptions to this rule contained in the ordinance itself are so broad that, in the final analysis, amnesty may be claimed by perpetrators of a wide range of offences, including serious violations of human rights, war crimes, crimes against humanity and common criminal offences committed since 17 September 2002.

MISCELLANEOUS

The Minister of Mines and Energy, Léon-Emmanuel Monnet, is today on an official visit to Bouaké to inspect oil and gas installations in and around the town. Monnet, who is accompanied by a number of oil company executives, went to Bouaké at the request of Prime Minister Guillaume Soro. His visit is being organized and directed by the Forces Nouvelles. Bouaké has gas and oil depots next to its airport.

CHILD PROTECTION

Two child protection officers were deployed in Sector East this week. One is based in Korhogo and the other in Bondoukou.