Lagos, Nigeria - Noting the general failure of the authorities to ensure justice and reparation, Amnesty International has called on the Ivorian authorities to halt what it calls the widespread human rights violations and abuses which continue to be committed with impunity by state agents or militias supported by the state.
In a report released Tuesday and obtained by PANA here, the organisation also called for an international commission of inquiry into the attack and destruction in July 2012 of a camp of internally displaced people largely from the Guéré ethic group, generally regarded as Gbagbo supporters, which led to the death of at least 14 people - although many more bodies are believed to have been dumped in wells.
The attack took place in Nahibly (near the town of Duékoué) in western Côte d'Ivoire, a region which has experienced some of the most serious human rights violations in the country. It was led by the Dozos - who are particularly active in the west - along with armed members of the local population and elements of the army.
“Justice is already long overdue for the people of Côte d’Ivoire,' said Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher. “If measures are not put in place immediately to control the security forces, Côte d’Ivoire risks successive political crises, where national reconciliation becomes a long lost hope.”
Amnesty International said a repressive cycle of widespread human rights violations by the armed forces pursuing former President Laurent Gbagbo’s supporters is making reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire ever more elusive.
It said the national army, set up by President Alassane Ouattara in order to integrate forces loyal to the former President in the wake of the 2010 post-election violence which led to nearly 3,000 deaths, was supposed to ensure “the safety of person and property without distinction” and “be a powerful instrument for national cohesion”.
The organisation noted, however, that the new national army, along with an armed militia of traditional hunters - the Dozos - are carrying out extra-judicial executions, deliberate and arbitrary killings, politically motivated arrests and torture.
The rights body also alleged that the army and the militia are acting with almost total impunity under the pretence of ensuring security and fighting against perpetrators of armed attacks.
“Côte d'Ivoire needs to break the cycle of abuse and impunity. Not a single member of the national army or any other supporter of President Alassane Ouattara has been held to account for their actions, representing an absolute failure to establish the rule of law and severely undermining the reconciliation process set up in July 2011,” said Mootoo.