Côte d'Ivoire

Daily Brief on Cote d'Ivoire for Wednesday 9 May 2007

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Highlights

- UNOCI continues its promotion of the peace process with a forum for highschool students in Attécoubé;

- UN mourns death of officials in Kenya Airways crash

- PAKBATT carries out air recce in its area of operation;

- Military Observers carry out arms embargo inspections in Zambla, Gbeya and Bouaflé

Military

Two UN officials based in Côte d'Ivoire are known to have died in the Kenya Airways crash in Cameroon on 5 May 2007. They are Captain Leticia Bwemelo Osward, 32, of Tanzania, who arrived at ONUCI in August 2006 and worked as a staff officer in the Fuel Section; and Anna Agbeviade of Togo, who worked at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

PAKBATT yesterday carried out aerial reconnaissance of its area of responsibility. No unusual activities were reported.

On the same day, Military Observers from Bouaké reported that a new checkpoint was observed at the entrance of the city. It was manned by two soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Force Nouvelles who refused to reveal their identities. They stated that they were a mobile check point that usually operates in the market area. The patrol assessed that they could be trying to extort money from people.

Sector East engineering and logistics teams have begun the process of creating Observation Posts in the former Zone of Confidence, south of Bouaké. UNOCI military contingents continue to monitor the area. They will be moving to new camps inside the former ZOC and to new locations outside of the ZOC to prepare for providing security during the identification process

Promotion of the peace process

The UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire on Wednesday held an information and sensitization forum for secondary school students in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Attécoubé within the framework of its schools caravan. The event was held at the Lycee Municipal d'Attecoube. [Attecoubé Grammar School]. Participants included representatives of ONUCI's various sections, the mayor and town council of Attecoubé, administrative authorities, teachers and some 2,000 students and parents.

Security

The Armed Forces of the Forces Nouvelles (FAFN) Deputy Zone Commander in Bouna yesterday asked UNOCI Military Observers based in the town to undertake joint patrols with the FAFN, GHANBATT and UNPOL. These patrols would be around the Comoe National Park and not in the former Zone of Confidence.

Arms Embargo

A two-day arms embargo training course organized for Military Observers and UN Police in Sector West started in the SENBATT camp in San Pedro yesterday.

Military Observers from Odienné escorted by a BANBATT special patrol carried out arms embargo inspections at FAFN Units in Zambla and Gbeya. A similar inspection was carried out -on the same day by Teamsite Daloa in Bouaflé. Security was provided by BANBATT soldiers based in Gohitafla.

Humanitarian

UNOCI Military have provided a cistern of water to the workers cleaning and renovating the Bouaké Stadium. The 25,000-seat structure has not been used for a national event for a number of years and is being renovated, cleaned and re-painted for an international match between the Elephants and Madagascar on 3 June 2007.

Human Rights

On 8 May, Simon Munzu, chief of the Human Rights Division, met with Martin Fofié Kouakou, Commander of Forces Nouvelles Zone 10 in Korhogo, northern Côte d'Ivoire, to review the human rights situation in the region. Stressing the need to strengthen collaboration on human rights issues between the Regional Human Rights Office in Korhogo and the local FN authorities, the Division's Chief used the opportunity to draw attention to the accountability of FN authorities for human rights violations. Other issues raised included access by human rights officers to detention facilities at Fansara 110, the main military camp of FN Zone 10, the role of the Forces Nouvelles in preventing increasing cases of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Korhogo area, and the impact of road blocks on freedom of movement of the civilian population. Welcoming the meeting, Commander Fofié expressed the commitment of the Forces Nouvelles to guaranteeing human rights in the region and to cooperate actively with the Human Rights Division in this regard. He authorized the Human Rights Division delegation to visit Fansara 110, which used to be a secret detention center. During this visit, the delegation found that seven Forces Nouvelles military elements were in detention on disciplinary grounds.

The Regional Human Rights office in Korhogo organized a two-day seminar (8-9 May) on the role of the media in a society in transition attended by eighteen (18) journalists working for local media in Korhogo and by three (03) members of local human rights organizations. In his opening remarks, the Chief of the Human Rights Division stressed the importance of freedom of expression in societies in democratic transition such as Côte d'Ivoire that are emerging from crises that had negatively impacted on their human rights situation in general and on freedom of expression in particular. The Forces Nouvelles representative strongly advocated the need to strengthen the capacity of the media in order to promote the protection of human rights.