Côte d'Ivoire: UN rights official calls for aid to displaced people

25 April 2006

With up to a million and a half people displaced by civil war and conflicts over land and ethnicity in Côte d'Ivoire, a senior United Nation official today called on the authorities, humanitarian organizations and international donors to implement a quick and detailed plan of action to help these largely forgotten victims.

With up to a million and a half people displaced by civil war and conflicts over land and ethnicity in Côte d'Ivoire, a senior United Nation official today called on the authorities, humanitarian organizations and international donors to implement a quick and detailed plan of action to help these largely forgotten victims.

“It is now time to act,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Representative on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Walter Kälin, said at the end of a week-long visit to the West African country, which has been divided between a rebel-held north and Government-controlled south since 2002.

“Côte d'Ivoire is facing a protection crisis in terms of the human rights of the internally displaced,” he added, noting that these people are forced to live in a state of destitution, with obstructed access to food, education and health services, and that many are children, some exploited for prostitution or agricultural labour in the plantations.

Mr. Kälin stressed that while the majority of the displaced had been accepted by host families - and he commended the spirit of generosity and solidarity of the Ivorian people – they had also become victims of serious human rights violations committed by all parties to the conflict.

Furthermore, they have fallen prey to racketeering and corruption, and cases of targeted assassinations, torture and sexual violence have also been reported.

 

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