CÔTE D'IVOIRE / BERT KOENDERS TAKES PART IN UN WEST AFRICA HEADS OF MISSION MEETING IN DAKAR
5/4/2012 9:50:00 AM -
ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, May 4, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Summary of the weekly press conference of UNOCI
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Côte d'Ivoire, Bert Koenders, participated on Wednesday 2 May 2012 in Dakar in the quarterly meeting of heads of UN missions in West Africa, the Deputy Spokesman of the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), Kenneth Blackman, announced on Thursday in Abidjan.
Speaking at UNOCI's weekly press conference, Mr. Blackman indicated that the representatives and special representatives of the Secretary General for West Africa, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia and Sierra Leone had noted the progress made in efforts to consolidate stability and improve the general conditions in Côte d'Ivoire, including the social and security situations.
According to the acting spokesman, the heads of mission also welcomed the commencement of the dialogue between the different political forces in the country and noted the positive steps made recently to move forward the processes of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration and security sector reform.
« The representatives urged the Ivorian Government to pursue these actions and to continue its efforts to fight impunity, improve security and reinforce the political dialogue as well as equitable justice, » Mr. Blackman stated. He added that in addition to Côte d'Ivoire, the situation in Mali and Guinea-Bissau had also been reviewed along with Liberia and Sierra Leone.
On the military plane, Mr. Blackman said UNOCI's contingents had carried out 1,685 land and air patrols in the week that had just ended. He also mentioned that UNOCI had intensified its mixed patrols with the Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FRCI) to improve security on the border with Liberia. Following last month's attack on the village of Sakré, in the western region of Taï, UNOCI has been conducting permanent patrols to secure the area, according to the Deputy Spokesman. He added that patrols had been reinforced along the border with Mali since the events in that country.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Spokesman announced that, in connection with International Press Freedom Day, UNOCI had organised a workshop on 3-4 May in the northern town of Boundiali on the contribution of media and civil society to social cohesion, reconciliation, reconstruction and economic recovery.
He further disclosed that in order to bring the population closer to the justice system and explain UNOCI's role in the promotion of peace in justice in Côte d'Ivoire, an open day would be held at the court in the northwestern town of Séguéla on Monday 7 May 2012 from 9 to 16 hours.
The mission will also participate on 9 May in a 'Career Day' for students and the public organised by the Education Ministry's Information and Orientation Centre. During this activity, UNOCI will explain its mandate and call on participants to take ownership of the values of peace, Mr. Blackman said.
In the humanitarian sphere, the acting spokesman announced that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Côte d'Ivoire, through the Service d`Aide et d`Assistance aux Réfugiés et Apatrides (SAARA - Service for Assistance to Refugees and Stateless Persons) had begun an operation to verify Liberian refugees living in Côte d'Ivoire and finding out their intentions when their refugee status ends.
« The operation is being conducted in Abidjan from 2 to 5 May, in the towns of Tabou and San Pedro from 11 to 22 May, and in the west, around Guiglo, from 26 May to 3 June, » he said.
Mr. Blackman also said that UNOCI was pursuing its monitoring of the human rights situation in the country and continued to maintain contact with its Ivorian counterparts and partners in order to promote respect for these rights and to contribute to the fight against impunity. Within this framework, the Human Rights Division had had a working session with the Commission nationale des droits de l'homme de Côte d'Ivoire (CNDH-CI, National Human Rights Commission of Côte d'Ivoire) on Monday 30 April, he said.