Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Côte d'Ivoire for Wednesday 2 May 2007

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- UNOCI's officer-in-charge attends Ivorian Government seminar on implementation of Ouagadougou Agreement;

- Thousands of students attend ONUCI information and sensitization session in Abidjan suburb;

- Forces Nouvelles delegation conducts sensitization session on Ouagadougou Agreement in Man;

- UNOCI and UNMIL peacekeepers carry out special operations along Côte d'Ivoire/Liberia border;

- UNOCI promotes human rights in Daloa and Odienné

Political

A delegation representing the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), including Officer-in-Charge Abou Moussa and Force Commander General Fernand Amoussou, today attended the launch of a governmental seminar in Yamoussoukro on the Ouagadougou Agreement. The aim of the seminar, also attended by the UN High Representative for Elections in Cote d'Ivoire, Gérard Stoudmann, is for the government to put together an action plan for implementing the Ouagadougou Agreement, signed by President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro on 4 March 2007.

A Forces Nouvelles (FN) delegation led by the deputy chief of cabinet of the FN's Secretary General, Cissé Sindou, held an information session on the Ouagadougou Agreement in the western town of Man on Wednesday. It was attended by representatives of women's and youth groups, religious and traditional leaders, and representatives of transporters and other interest groups. Addressing concerns about the lifting of the zone of confidence, Sindou advised his audience to read the Ouagadougou Agreement which, he said, never stated that the impartial forces would leave the zone. He cited as an example the fact that impartial forces were part of the mixed brigades set up to patrol the area.

Information

Students from high schools in Abidjan's Bingerville suburb today participated in an information and sensitization forum organised by UNOCI. Some 5000 students attended the session, which was the third leg of a Schools Caravan initiated by the mission on 14 February 2007 to sensitize students in Abidjan on peace and reconciliation, encourage them to contribute to the peace process, and inform them on UNOCI's role and activities. Addressing the students on behalf of UNOCI officer-in-charge Abou Moussa, the mission's Director of Public Information, Margherita Amodeo, stressed that for real peace to return to Côte d'Ivoire, its young people, too, had to take ownership of the peace process. Young people, like other Ivorians, should ask themselves each day "What am I doing for peace today", she said.

Military

At the weekly FN Coordination Meeting in the western town of Danané yesterday, Sector Commander Captain Eddy Meddy told UNOCI military and UN Police representatives that he would still like to see the Impartial Forces present in the former Zone of Confidence (ZOC).

Peacekeepers from UNOCI and the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) carried out a Special Operation along the Liberia /Cote d'Ivoire border on 30 April and 1 May 2007. UNPOL also took part in the exercise.

Security

Three bandits accused of carrying out robberies during the installation ceremony of the mixed brigade in Bangolo on 30 April 2007 were arrested by a group of young people and handed over to the law enforcement authorities.

A UNOCI patrol travelling from the western town of Guiglo to Pehe Kanhouebly [locations in the west of the country] on 30 April 2007 apprehended a man carrying a 12mm hunting rifle and two cartridges. He was handed over to the Gendarmerie at Pehe Kanhouebly.

The village chief and other representatives of the western village of Blenimeouin, which is situated in the former ZOC, have reported several attacks by bandits in their village. The most recent incident was on the night of 30 April to 1 May 2007, when a businessman travelling on a motorbike was attacked. According to the village chief another person was murdered on the same road a week ago.

Human Rights

On 25 April, the Regional Human Rights Office in Daloa participated in a debate on "Democracy, non-violence and citizenship in schools and universities", organized by the Mouvement Ivoirien des Droits Humains (MIDH). The debate, attended by representatives of the Préfét, the regional administration of national education, police officers, the mayor and members of local human rights NGOs, was funded by the German cooperation within the framework of a training project on raising human rights awareness in schools. In its opening remarks, the Office presented the international standards related to the rights of the child. The discussion focused on violence in schools and university campuses, and human rights violations perpetrated by members of the student union Fédération Estudiantine et Scolaire de Côte d'Ivoire (FESCI).

On 30 April, the UNOCI Regional Human Rights Office in Odienné and the Child Protection Unit held a working session with the regional education authorities in Odienné on ways of promoting and protecting human rights with an emphasis on the rights of the child. It was agreed that a human rights club and a human rights protection cell would be created and launched at a ceremony to be held during the first week of June at the local senior secondary school, the Lycée Moderne d'Odienné.