Sex exploitation by UN peacekeepers: A 2010 UN embassy cable released by Wikileaks indicates that U.N. peacekeepers traded food and basic supplies (mobile phones, as well) for sex with destitute underage girls in the Ivory Coast. The cable concerns the actions of Beninese peacekeepers in the town of Toulepleu, sixteen of whom a UN spokesman has now acknowledged were barred from UN service following a year-long investigation. Said a protection officer with Save The Children: “…sexual exploitation and abuse problem among (United Nations) personnel is more extensive than is recognized.” source
Until we can convince the population it is not a witch hunt, they won’t come forward. We’re working on it. But once the amnesty expires, we will let the law deal with anyone who doesn’t cooperate.Ivory Coast leader Alassane Ouattara • Describing some of the troubles he faces with calming down the situation in Abidjan after the capture of Laurent Gbagbo yesterday. He needs to assure that those nervous after the street violence understand that there’s a period of amnesty for those who come forward, and that things will calm down after this point. In other words: Cool your jets. It’s a pretty rough stigma to live down, as Mamadou Senogo, a person in a French refugee camp notes: “I will be staying at the French army base camp until the whole city is secure. There are too many hotheads running around with guns outside.” source (via • follow)
There [was] heavy fighting involving French soldiers, the United Nations and our forces against Mr. Gbagbo’s forces. Once all heavy weapons were destroyed, Mr. Gbagbo was there and we arrested him.Paris-based Alassane Ouattara spokeswoman Sogona Bamba-Arnault • Explaining how Ivory Coast strongman Laurent Gbagbo was captured, after months of conflict over an election that didn’t go Gbagbo’s way. The conflict pushed the world’s largest cocoa producer in a direction towards civil war. source (via • follow)
The group wants Alassane Ouattara to investigate. With incredibly high stakes at play, the situation in the Ivory Coast certainly had the potential to get very bad very quickly, and that’s exactly what Human Rights Watch claims has happened. “While the international community has been focused on the political stalemate in Abidjan over the presidency,” said Human Rights Watch Africa director Daniel Bekele, ”forces on both sides have committed numerous atrocities against civilians, their leaders showing little interest in reining them in.” On Alassane Ouattara’s side, the group claims supporters ”summarily executed and raped perceived Gbagbo supporters in their homes.” On Laurent Gbagbo’s side, supporters reportedly retaliated by killing more than 100 civilians. In case you haven’t been watching this story, now might be the time to use your non-blind eye. source
Gbagbo still sequestered at his home: Yesterday saw a lot of conflicting reports of the surrender, or lack thereof, of Ivory Coast’s electorally-defeated strongman Laurent Gbagbo. The standoff between him and forces loyal to the elected leader, Alassane Ouattara (who’s got other problems, too — his own ranks were accused of committing atrocities, which he flatly denies) is still going on a day later, a disastrous prolonging of the conflict for the people of Abidjan, who have little food and water, and are in tremendous physical peril. The reports coming in today, sadly, are no less convoluted than they were yesterday.