Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Thursday 7 Jun 2007

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Highlights

- ONUCI continues to provide support for the media;

- UNOCI peacekeepers denied permission to conduct arms embargo inspection in Issia;

- San Pedro youths organize street protests over lack of access to Ivorian TV;

- Two people accused of witchcraft are killed in Bangolo area.

Information

ONUCI's Chief of Public Information, Margherita Amodéo, announced on Thursday at the mission's weekly press conference that ONUCI would be hosting two seminars for the media, focusing on election coverage, in Abidjan and Bouake on 11-13 June and 14-15 June respectively. She made the announcement one day after a seminar organized by ONUCI in partnership with the Canadian International development Agency (CIDA), the National Union of Journalists of Côte d'Ivoire (UNJCI) and the National Council of Audiovisual Communication (CNCA). That seminar, held in Grand Bassam, was attended by decision makers from over 70 community radios.

Arms embargo

A joint UNPOL/MILOB patrol was denied access to conduct an arms embargo inspection on a FANCI detachment at Issia, the local team site reported. The scheduled inspections did not take place because the commander was absent and he could not be reached on his cellphone. His assistant refused to allow the inspection without his authorization.

Demonstrations

A street demonstration by members of several youth associations in San Pedro which started yesterday continued today with motorists being prevented from moving around freely. The youth, who include members of COJEP, FESCI and Jeunesse Autochtone, are protesting against the fact that they do not receive Ivorian national television channels (RTI) in San Pedro. The protesters, who vowed to block all economic activity, said that only people with satellite dishes were able to receive the channels. They accused the local authorities of being complicit in what they claimed was a deliberate policy and ignored an appeal for calm from the Prefet. They said the demonstrations would continue until the issue is resolved. It should be noted that no UNOCI vehicle was prevented from moving around the city.

Outreach

UNOCI's Public Information Office in Yamoussoukro in collaboration with Human Rights, Electoral and UNPOL today met with some 100 pupils from the Collège Municipal in the political capital to explain the Mission's mandate and activities.

Miscellaneous

A UNPOL patrol which went yesterday to Yapleu, in the ex-ZOC, to find out details of the death of two people in the village (see 06-06-07 daily sitrep) met Goueu Tiemoko, the Zéalé mixed brigade commander, who told them that, according to a witness' account, the deceased hanged themselves because they were involved in witchcraft. They reportedly committed suicide after being forced to repent in front of the population of their village and to pay 2,000 CFA as a form of reparation to the village chief. The mixed brigade is investigating the case.

Trainees from four battalions of FAFN (Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles ) recruits completed their basic military training yesterday in Séguéla. The ceremony was attended by UNOCI representatives which, according to BANBATT, was in sharp contrast to similar events organized earlier in Séguéla, which were low profile and away from the public eye.

Human Rights

On 6 June, within the framework of the fight against violence at schools, the Regional Human Rights Office in Odienné participated in a seminar organized by "Save the Children UK" and attended by 18 participants. The seminar was aimed at formulating a code of conduct for primary school pupils in the Odienné 5 district. The Programme will be extended to other schools. The code of conduct is expected to provide a framework within the educational system that would help to curb violence and abuse in schools.

On 6 June, the Regional Human Rights Office in Odienné met with the president of the Association of Persons Affected by or Living with HIV/AIDS in the region of Denguélé to discuss the discrimination that these people are subjected to. The president highlighted the need to sensitize the population on the rights of persons affected or living with HIV/AIDS. He also requested the support of UNOCI's Human Rights Division to train members of the association on human rights standards.