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UN expert urges continued support for Cote d'Ivoire following deadly attack

06-14-2012 06:19 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, June 13 (Xinhua) -- A UN independent human rights expert on Wednesday urged all Ivorians and the international community to maintain their support for Cote d' Ivoire's national reconciliation following an attack last week causing 16 deaths including seven UN peacekeepers.

"This attack, through its magnitude, constitutes a major challenge for the Ivorian people and the international community," said Doudou Diene, the UN independent expert on the human rights situation in Cote d'Ivoire, in a news release.

"The Ivorian people, despite the sense of insecurity created by this attack, should respond by renewing its commitment to national reconciliation, strengthening democratic pluralism, the impartiality of the justice system and the economic and social recovery of the country," he said.

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not United Nations staff, nor are they paid for their work.

According to preliminary reports, on June 8, peacekeepers serving with the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI) were on patrol in the proximity of Para village, near the town of Tai, located in the country's southwest near the border with neighboring Liberia, when they were attacked by a group of unidentified armed elements.

The peacekeepers were deployed in the area in response to concerns about the safety of local residents.

Diene said that the attack has generated thousands of internally displaced persons in Tai and an influx of refugees in UN camps in Liberia.

"The authorities across the border should work together to prevent cross-border raids and attacks on the population as well as to conduct investigations to identify, arrest and prosecute the alleged perpetrators of these acts," he said.

He also called on the international community to speed up the adjustment of the West African country's arms embargo in order to enable the government of Cote d'Ivoire to respond proportionately to threats to the security of its population, and to ensure that its security forces remain committed to upholding human rights.

With the cooperation of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), UNOCI has launched an investigation into the circumstances of the attack Friday.

Editor:Wang Shuo |Source: Xinhua

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