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UN Security Council extends Ivory Coast sanctions

The United Nations Security Council voted unianimously on Thursday to extend the arms embargo on the Ivory Coast (otherwise known as Côte d’Ivoire) for a year.

In addition, the 15-member council renewed a ban on exporting diamonds and foreign travel, as well as an asset freeze for persons who are discovered to have violated human rights or disrupting the peace. “[…] the situation in the Ivory Coast continues to pose a threat to international peace and security in the region,” the council said. Read More…

Trafigura pursuit over toxic waste

Swiss-based multinational company Trafigura reaches an out of court settlement with 31,000 people affected by its 2006 dumping of toxic chemicals in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.Trafigura-logo

One Ivorian group representing victims criticised the deal and accused the company of exploiting Africa’s poverty.

Greenpeace wants Trafigura prosecuted for manslaughter and grievous bodily harm, citing documents it says demonstrate the waste’s high toxicity. Trafigura also faces a Dutch prosecution for allegedly lying about the true nature of its waste. Read More…

Child abuse by humanitarian workers

A study by the non-profit organisation Save the Children UK claims that a number of aid workers and peacekeepers from organisations such as the United Nations and Save the Children itself have engaged in sexual abuse of children in the course of their humanitarian efforts.

The study also says that many of these incidents remain unreported, and those involved often go unpunished.

The study was based on field data from Sudan, Ivory Coast and Haiti, where they held focus groups followed by in-depth interviews. In 20 of the 38 focus groups, United Nations representatives were the main perpetrators of sexual abuse, possibly due to the larger number of peacekeepers than aid workers, but 23 organisations were identified as being involved across the three countries. Read More…

Missile strikes aircraft carrying Ivory Coast PM

The Prime Minister of the Ivory Coast, Guillaume Soro, has escaped uninjured after a missile struck his aircraft upon landing at Bouaké Airport, Ivory Coast, killing four others, according to eyewitnesses.

According to a United Nations (UN) employee who saw the attack, a total of three missiles were fired. One struck and rebounded off the fuselage and failed to explode, one flew over the top of the aircraft and exploded nearby and one burst through the fuselage and exploded inside the cabin. There were also some gunshots fired.

Shortly after the attack, the Forces Nouvelles de Côte d’Ivoire (New Forces of the Ivory Coast) announced several arrests had been made in connection to the failed assassination attempt.

Ivory Coast militia destroys weapons

The Ivory Coast‘s pro-Government Great West Liberation Front (GWLF) militia destroyed their weapons in Guiglo on May 19, as part of an on-going disarmament policy trailing the Ivorian Civil War.

President Laurent Gbagbo, who attended Saturday’s ceremonial bonfire of weapons, thanked the militia members. Denis Maho Glofiei, leader of the militia, stated that “We’ve realised that since the signing of [the Peace Deal], we have no more reason to exist,” while handing Gbagbo two rifles.

The GWLF is one of four pro-government militias operating in the country. Rebel forces have long claimed that they refuse to disarm until the militias are disbanded.

While Abou Moussa, head of the UN Operations in Côte d’Ivoire oversaw the ceremony, the ceasefire was actually brought about by President Gbagbo’s autonomous negotiations with rebel leader Guillaume Soro who was named as the country’s new Prime Minister in April.