- UNOCI conducts training seminar for over 70 community radio journalists;
- UNOCI HR Chief holds debate with national, international media;
- Mixed Brigade in Bangolo reports decrease in criminal activities
- Women protest outside UNOCI's Bouna camp over FAFN "tax" increase
- Bandits attack checkpoint near Bouake during CI-Madagascar match
- Blé Goudé and Fofié Kouakou to discuss UN sanctions
Information/Promotion of the Peace Process
A training seminar for community radio journalists, organised by ONUCI in collaboration with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Côte d'Ivoire's National Council for Audiovisual Communication (CNCA) and the National Union of Journalists of Côte d'Ivoire (UNJCI), began today in Grand Bassam - about 40 km east of Abidjan. The agenda of the seminar, which ends on Wednesday, includes discussions on issues such as the role and responsibility of community radios in the peace process, the presentation of a survey of community radios drawn up by ONUCI, and the establishment of a network of partner radios for an ONUCI's peace-promotion campaign, "On the Road to Peace". The opening session of the seminar, which is part of ONUCI's ongoing effort to promote peace in general and, in particular, to encourage media to work professionally and thereby contribute to the peace process, was addressed by ONUCI o-ic Abou Moussa, Côte d'Ivoire's Minister of Communication, Ibrahim Sy Savane, Ms Isabelle Masip, Canada's Ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire, CNCA Chairman Diegou Bailly, and UNJCI representative Cesar Etou.
On 4 June, at the invitation of the Ivorian newspaper, Fraternité Matin, Mr. Simon Munzu, the Chief of the Human Rights Division (HRD) had a 2-hour debate with journalists from the national and international media on the overall human rights situation in Côte d'Ivoire. Among the issues discussed and concerns raised were the UN sanctions imposed in 2006 against three individuals, the impact of human rights reports produced by UNOCI's HRD with respect to preventing politicians from instigating human rights violations, and violence in schools and on university campuses by members of student unions. After a short presentation of the HRD's mandate, Mr. Munzu drew attention to the relationship between journalists and human rights: journalists could be potential victims of human rights violations; they could play a negative role in such violations; or they could play a positive role in the promotion and protection of human rights. He called on all journalists to assume their share of responsibility to protect and promote human rights. On the issue of sanctions, he said that the Security Council Sanctions Committee received information about individuals not only from reports of UNOCI's HRD but also from several other sources (international and national NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the International Federation of Human Rights, the diplomatic community as well as the media). However, major sources of such information are the nine HRD field offices, which help to investigate rights violations with a view to ending impunity, and whose work is reflected in the periodic reports on the human rights situation in the country that are issued by UNOCI. With regard to promoting the Division's activities, he mentioned the increasing number of requests by schools to establish human rights clubs. Finally, he drew attention to activities aimed at raising human rights awareness among certain target groups, including the Defense and Security Forces, Forces Nouvelles soldiers, women and youth. The debate was attended by more than 40 journalists who commended the work of UNOCI's HRD and expressed their willingness to work more closely with the Division to promote and protect human rights in Côte d'Ivoire.
At the weekly Forces Nouvelles co-ordination meeting in Man yesterday, the Commanding Officer of the Mixed Brigade in Bangolo said that in May, 17 people were arrested on various charges and 13 rifles were seized. He also said that the Mixed Brigade continued to face logistical problems, despite help received recently from the Integrated Command Centre. The security situation was reported as calm and the Police Prefet and the deputy zone commander attributed the decrease in criminal activities to combined efforts led by impartial forces.
The first rotation of UNOCI's Senegalese soldiers based in San Pedro and Tabou took place on Sunday, 3 June 2007:, 55 soldiers returned home to Senegal after serving in the Mission for a year. The rest of the troops will leave Cote d'Ivoire on 10, 14 and 19 June. They will be replaced by another 256 soldiers.
TOGOBATT carried out an amphibious exercise with the 43e BIMA on the extraction of VIPs in Abidjan yesterday.
The Abidjan Reserve Team along with representatives of Force HQ Embargo Cell, UNPOL and TOGOBATT conducted an arms embargo inspection at the "Commandement Supérieur de la Gendarmerie" in Plateau.
BENINBATT on 3 June 2007, treated a man who was injured when a truck travelling from Toulepleu to Guiglo was attacked near Zompleu village. He was later evacuated to Guiglo Hospital.
UNPOL and Licorne reported this morning that an FAFN Commander died after bandits opened fire at a checkpoint in Diabo village, some 10 km north-west of Bouaké, on 3 June 2007, during the Cote d'Ivoire-Madagascar match. The criminals had been travelling in one or two pick-up trucks and had attacked a vehicle near the locality of Marabadiassa earlier the same day. Though the information is not clear, it is understood that the bandits opened fire on the checkpoint, and were then repulsed by the soldiers manning it. The checkpoint was part of the security perimeter established by the FAFN for the football match. UNPOL and UNMO's are continuing their investigations.
According to the Association for Unity and National Reconciliation - a new group made up of civil society associations and non-governmental organizations based in Bouaké - Young Patriots leader Charles Blé Goudé is expected in Korhogo on Sunday 10 June 2007 for a meeting with Fofié Kouakou, the FAFN Zone Commander for the North, to discuss the UN Security Council sanctions imposed on the two men a year ago. The Association's Konaté Zié Aboubacar said that Blé Goudé would also visit Bouaké.
A group of women yesterday gathered in front of the UNOCI compound in Bouna to protest against an increase in "taxes" being imposed by the Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles. They complained that previously they had to pay 2,000 CFA to enter and exit Bouna, but that the amount had been raised to 5,000 CFA.
UNPOL Man has reported that up to 500 former FAFN soldiers have been trained at a centre financed by the European Union and run by the German cooperation agency, GTZ in the city. Some 242 persons have been already been reinserted into civilian life while 43 others are finishing their professional training. In addition, 154 are waiting for support to start and manage small business ventures, while 35 are undergoing training in local factories and workshops. GTZ teachers have identified a number of the former soldiers who could attend a more specialized training. The training of former soldiers started last October 2006. Half of the students received basic training during the first three months, after which they were oriented to different vocational fields of expertise such as automechanics, sewing, soldering, wood carving, animal husbandry and farming.