Country’s Representative Says Support of Council, Member States, Regional Partners Crucial
As Côte d’Ivoire prepared to hold a presidential election in October, the renewal of mandate of the United Nations Operation in that country was crucial to the consolidation of the achievements made since the 2010 post-election crisis, the Security Council heard today.
Stability in the country was being progressively maintained, the economy was growing and Ivorians were able to pursue their affairs in a peaceful environment, Aïchatou Mindaoudou, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), told the 15-member Council in a briefing.
While political disagreements remained, there was more and more national consensus for constructive dialogue. Political stakeholders, tempted to use inflammatory rhetoric, must continually be encouraged to act responsibly, and in accordance with the law, throughout the electoral period, Ms. Mindaoudou said at the meeting, which was also addressed by Côte d’Ivoire’s representative.
Social cohesion, reconciliation and peacebuilding initiatives in the region, supported by UNOCI and the United Nations Country Team, had been instrumental in encouraging public confidence in the authorities’ efforts to foster peace and stability throughout the country, Ms. Mindaoudou said. Local stakeholders voiced genuine commitment to peaceful elections and recognition that electoral violence would have negative consequences for the region.
Efforts to advance reparations for victims of the 2010/11 post-election crisis had commenced, she said, stressing that, in the fight against impunity, perceptions of one-sided justice remained a subject of discussion among Ivorians. She voiced concern about continued reports of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation.
On the security front, the Government had made headway to outstanding grievances following the November 2014 protests. However, the lack of equipment among Ivorian law enforcement and security institutions for the maintenance of public order posed a major challenge to their operational capabilities.
The Government, she added, had set 30 June as the deadline for completing the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process for former combatants; a significant number of them would undergo reinsertion into early 2016.
Overall, however, the security situation was stable, with a downward trend in criminal activities, and consideration was being given to reopening the land borders with Liberia and resuming cross-border security activities, now that the country had been declared Ebola-free.
Sustaining a peaceful and enabling environment in the lead-up to, during, and after the presidential election would require continued progress on political dialogue, disarmament, security sector reforms, justice, victim reparations and refugee returns. To that end, the combined support of the Security Council, Member States, international and regional partners, and the United Nations system in Côte d’Ivoire remained essential, she stressed.
The country’s representative, Claude Stanislas Bouah-Kamon, thanked Ms. Mindaoudou for what he called the “remarkable work” accomplished by UNOCI on the ground and in collaboration with authorities of Côte d’Ivoire and affirmed that the upcoming general elections represented a crucial step in the transition to stability and social peace. The Government was, therefore, putting in the required efforts to ensure they were free, transparent and inclusive.
That goal required the international community’s support, notably that of UNOCI, he said. In that regard, he urged the enlargement of UNOCI’s mandate to include logistical support to the polls as recommended by the Secretary-General in his report (document S/2015/320). Support to successful elections could be a crowning achievement of the Operation as it prepared to withdraw by the start of 2017, he suggested.
He welcomed the recognition, in the Secretary-General’s report, of what he called the enormous progress achieved in his country since President Alassane Ouattara took office, in the areas of reconciliation, economic growth, normalized politics and security. The reintegration of former fighters had a particularly outstanding record, for which he also credited UNOCI. Of course, he allowed, several challenges remained, as the report also pointed out, but he pledged the relentless work of the Government to overcome them.
The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended 10:30 a.m.