Côte d'Ivoire: Welcoming recent progress, UN envoy urges vigilance in run-up to elections
13 January 2015 – While praising Côte d'Ivoire's significant progress towards lasting peace and economic recovery, the top United Nations official in the country told the Security Council today that vigilance and determination will still be required to hold onto recent gains and lay the ground for presidential elections next fall.
"I am optimistic for Côte d'Ivoire," said Aïchatou Mindaoudou, said Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Operation, known as UNOCI, as she briefed the Council on efforts undertaken during the past six months to consolidate peace in the West African country and ensure steady economic gains.
Further, she said the completion of several major infrastructure projects, the return to the capital, Abidjan, of the headquarters of the African Development Bank, and the successful organization of several regional and international events are an indication of the renewed confidence of the international community towards Côte d'Ivoire.
The Special Representative emphasized that the Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara and his Government "have continued to take measures to consolidate reconciliation and national cohesion."
While welcoming such measures, Ms. Mindaoudou underscored that several key areas would continue to deserve attention. "We must remain vigilant and determined to ensure that the hard-won gains that have helped advance the stability and prosperity of the country is irreversible," she said.
For instance, the fight against impunity, which she flagged as essential for national reconciliation in Ivory Coast, is progressing slowly. "There should be intensified efforts to ensure that the perpetrators of human rights violations, including sexual abuse, are prosecuted and judged, especially when the alleged perpetrators wear uniforms," she said.
With regard to disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants, Ms. Mindaoudou said that process was advancing satisfactorily. However, she said that after June 2015, the target date set by the Ivorian authorities to complete the initiative, there would still be a surplus of about 14,000 ex-combatants to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
While noting that the security situation has "significantly improved," Ms. Mindaoudou pointed out that armed robbery, banditry and other criminal activities continue to present challenges. At the same time, she was pleases to tell the Council there had been a slight decrease in inter-communal conflict.
As Côte d'Ivoire headed into an election year, she said that the country would still need support to consolidate the gains achieved so far, create a conducive environment for the presidential polls, and "to conduct the important processes [now under way] to an end."
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