Serious human rights violations have been taking place in areas under Government and rebel control in Côte d'Ivoire, but both sides have become amenable to cooperating in restoring normalcy on rights, the United Nations mission in the West African country said today.
Presenting a report describing and deploring the grave violations, the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) said the offences were the work of forces and armed and unarmed militias belonging to the party controlling the Government, elements of anti-government Forces Nouvelles in the area it controlled, as well as armed groups in the Zone of Confidence that is supervised by UN-authorized peacekeeping forces.
UNOCI called on the Government to establish its administration over the whole country, since the justice system was not working in the Zone of Confidence, leading to impunity. Yesterday UN peacekeepers moved in to end an ethnic clash between two groups in a village in the Zone, the mission said.
The peacekeeping mission said it has been meeting with Government officials to discuss violations, especially in the largest city, Abidjan, as well as with Forces Nouvelles leaders in Bouaké.
Meanwhile, a humanitarian assessment mission went to an area near the border with Mali and found a general food shortage, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.
As the residents of the area ran out of money they sold their farm produce at reduced prices to traders from Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, countries where crops had been lost to locust swarms, it said.
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) said the therapeutic feeding centres it was establishing in Abidjan, three northern and two western towns to treat severe cases of malnutrition should start operating by the end of next month.