Top UN rights official to visit three post-conflict countries in West Africa

Top UN rights official to visit three post-conflict countries in West Africa

Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour is heading to three West African countries emerging from armed conflict – Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone – to survey the efforts being made to build effective systems for protecting human rights.

The first stop on the 10-day trip will be Côte d'Ivoire's main city, Abidjan, where tomorrow she will hold talks with President Laurent Gbagbo, and other senior Ivorian officials. Ms. Arbour will also meet with Pierre Schori, head of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), and with other UN representatives in the country.

The High Commissioner will also travel north of Abidjan to Bouaké to meet, among others, representatives of the Forces Nouvelles opposition movement. Later in the day she is set to go to Duékoué and Gitrozon, in western Côte d'Ivoire, the scene of attacks that left dozens of civilians dead at the end of May.

In the Liberian capital, Monrovia, Ms. Arbour will meet Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator Abou Moussa, head of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Ms. Arbour will also meet top Liberian judicial officials and take part in a conference on the current status of Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In Sierra Leone, Ms. Arbour will meet with Daudi Ngelautwa Mwakawago, head of the UN Mission in the country (UNAMSIL), and with other UN officials. The next day, she will meet President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. On 15 July she heads to a centre for amputee and war-wounded, before meeting local authorities and human rights groups.