United Nations peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy has called on Laurent Gbagbo to keep his pledge not to resort to violence as the stand-off with his rival, Alassane Ouattara, who has been recognized by the international community as the winner of Côte d'Ivoire's presidential election, continues.
“We hope for a peaceful solution to the crisis,” Mr. Le Roy said in an interview with UN Radio yesterday.
Côte d'Ivoire has been plunged into turmoil after Mr. Gbagbo refused to concede defeat following the 28 November polls that were meant to advance the peace process in the West African nation, which was split by civil war in 2002 into a Government-controlled south and a rebel-held north.
Mr. Le Roy called on Mr. Gbagbo to stand by the statement he himself made on television a few days ago, in which he stated that he wants peace and called on his supporters to show restraint.
The international community has backed Mr. Outtara's victory, with the UN, the European Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – which is meeting today on the crisis – and others recognizing him as the duly elected leader of Côte d'Ivoire.
In a further show of support for Mr. Outtara, the UN General Assembly on Thursday accepted, by consensus, the credentials of the representatives that he has designated, in a move welcomed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“This important decision reflects the united position of the international community with respect to the legitimacy of the new government led by President Ouattara,” Mr. Ban's spokesperson said in a statement.
Mr. Le Roy said the UN is very concerned about the Ivorian people, who are suffering the most as a result of the crisis, and called for all violations of human rights to stop immediately.
UN officials have substantiated allegations of violations in recent days, including killings, destruction of property, abductions, enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, sexual violence and denial of the right to peaceful assembly.
The UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) on Thursday reported that severe violations of human rights and acts of intimidation continue in many neighbourhoods of Abidjan, the country's commercial capital, and in the west.
Meeting in a special session yesterday, the UN Human Rights Council condemned the violations, and urged all parties, particularly defence and security forces, to refrain from violence and to respect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.