UN Security Council calls for all-inclusive govt in Cote d' Ivoire

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Security Council has called on Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, to form an all-inclusive and broad-based government to ensure the unity and stability of the country.

``The members of the Security Council urge all Ivorians to abstain from any reprisals, revenge or provocation, to exercise maximum restraint and to work together to promote national reconciliation and restore sustainable peace through dialogue and consultation,” Ambassador
Nestor Osorio of Colombia, which holds the council’s rotating monthly presidency, said in a statement.

The statement, made available to PANA in New York on Thursday, stated that, ``the Council welcomed Ouattara’s commitment to investigate alleged human rights abuses and reaffirmed that those responsible for the violations must he held accountable for their crimes regardless of their political affiliation''.

It also commended Quattara's call for justice and reconciliation and his decision to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

The 15-member body also encouraged the new Ivorian government to co-operate closely with the Independent Commission of Inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council and urged the authorities to ensure Laurent Gbagbo’s security and accord him and his supporters a fair and
just treatment.

It, however, voiced concern over reports of widespread violence and intimidation in the commercial capital, Abidjan, and urged all illegal armed combatants to lay down their arms immediately and hand them in to the relevant authorities.

The council further encouraged the UN peacekeeping mission in Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI) to help the government in the urgent task of disarmament, the establishment of security, public order and rule of law throughout the country and facilitate aid delivery, as well as continue to protect civilians.

The refusal by former president Gbagbo to stand down after he lost the UN-certified run-off poll in November plunged the country into four months of violence.

Gbagbo, however, was arrested on Monday and taken into custody.

Meanwhile, in their briefings to the Security Council, three senior UN officials said the situation in Cote d’Ivoire remained grave despite Gbagbo’s arrest, stressing that the need to restore the rule of law, bring to justice those responsible for the gross human rights violations and respond to the dire humanitarian needs.

Y. J. Choi, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Cote d’Ivoire, said that the mission’s immediate priority was to prevent a security vacuum, disarm surrendering soldiers and militiamen, secure vital installations, including air and sea ports, protect civilians, prevent reprisal attacks and gather evidence on human rights abuses.

``The Ivorian people organized one of the most impressive elections, they succeeded largely by themselves in resolving the post-election crisis which allowed for the will of the people to prevail,” Choi said via video-link from Abidjan.

``Now they will march forward towards national reconciliation and reconstruction with the assistance of the international community,'' he said.

On her part, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, called for ``immediate and decisive action'' to address the humanitarian crisis in the country and to build public confidence in the rule of law to ensure justice.

``Reconciliation will not be accomplished without meaningful accountability, which has been lacking in Cote d’Ivoire over the past decade,” she said in her briefing.

``To achieve peace and reconciliation, the cycle of impunity must be stopped, perpetrators must be brought to justice, and victims must be rehabilitated in their rights and dignity,'' Pillay said.

She said a mission from her office that spent last week in Cote d’Ivoire found evidence of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and sexual violence in Abidjan and the rest of the country.

Pillay also voiced concern over entrenched divisions and distrust between communities engendered by years of discrimination and violence and exacerbated by inflammatory speech and reprisal killings.

“Rebuilding social cohesion and fostering reconciliation between communities will need to be one of the main priorities of the Government and will require the support of the international community,” she added.

Valerie Amos, the UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, stressed the need to boost the delivery of food aid and to provide shelter and medical assistance to the sick and wounded, as well as to those who have been traumatised by the atrocities they have witnessed or endured.

She said that an estimated US$ 300 million was required to respond to the humanitarian crisis inside Cote d’Ivoire and in neighbouring countries where Ivorians have sought refuge.

``Some US$ 57 million of the required funding has been received,'' she added.
-0- PANA AA/VAO 14April2011

14 Abril 2011 15:09:13

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