With the post-electoral deadlock in Côte d’Ivoire now entering its fifth month and the crisis showing no signs of abating, the Security Council today demanded an immediate end to the violence against civilians and decided to impose targeted sanctions against former president Laurent Gbagbo, his wife and three associates.
In unanimously adopting resolution 1975, the Council urged Gbagbo to immediately step aside, repeating the calls made for months following his UN-certified defeat in November’s presidential run-off, which was won by opposition leader Alassane Ouattara.
Top UN officials have voiced growing concern about the situation inside Côte d’Ivoire, where up to 1 million people have been displaced – some internally, and some to neighbouring nations – since fighting first broke out in the wake of the polls, which were meant to reunite a country split by civil war in 2002 into a Government-held south and rebel-controlled north, UN News Service reports.
Nearly 500 people are reported to have been killed, and the violence appears to have stepped up in recent weeks, including the use of heavy weapons.
The Council “condemns in the strongest terms the recent escalation of violence throughout the country which could amount to crimes against humanity,” the 15-member body said in the resolution.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), which continues to protect civilians during this period of increased fighting to the best of its abilities in line with its mandate, has also been targeted, with a UN-marked bus damaged by stone-throwing demonstrators earlier this week.
The Council condemned the use of Radiodiffusion Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI) and other media to incite discrimination, hostility, hatred and violence, including against UNOCI, and demanded that all parties abide “scrupulously” by their obligation to respect the safety of UNOCI and other UN personnel and ensure their freedom of movement.
It decided to adopt targeted sanctions against those individuals who meet the criteria set out in previous resolutions, including those who obstruct peace and reconciliation in the country, obstruct the work of UNOCI and other international actors and commit serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
In addition to Gbagbo and his wife, Simone, the resolution imposed targeted financial and travel measures against Désiré Tagro, Secretary General in the so-called ‘presidency’ of Gbagbo; Pascal Affi N’Guessan, Chairman of the Ivorian Popular Front; and Alcide Djédjé, a close advisor to Gbagbo.