Côte d’Ivoire: Massacre in Duekoue and serious abuses against the civilian population all over the country.

FIDH is extremely worried about the current situation in Côte d’Ivoire. It condemns the grave violations which have been committed against civilians by warring parties in the offensive launched by the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI), pro Ouattara forces, to take control of the country, including the economic capital Abidjan.

FIDH confirms that a massacre took place in Duekoue, in the west of the country, where, since the second round of the presidential election, over 800 people have been executed. Witness reports confirm that targeted executions, particularly towards ethnic Guéré, took place on March 29 2011 near the “Carrefour” district.

In Guiglo, several dozen people have died as a result of militia and Liberian mercenaries fleeing to the border of Liberia.

In Daloa, Issia, Bondoukou and several municipalities in Abidjan, serious human rights violations have been committed by members of the armed forces on both sides of the conflict and by civilians who take advantage of the chaos. The population has been the victim of summary executions, killings and lootings. This morning, pro-Gbagbo elements are reported to have taken over the “Abattoir” district of the Port-Bouet municipality in Abidjan, forcing people to flee towards the airport.

The UNOCI peacekeepers, who were mandated to protect civilians, are struggling to fulfill their mission because of the numerous roadblocks erected by pro-Gbagbo elements.

In this context, FIDH is extremely worried about the fate of Ivorian human rights defenders, who, despite the major security risks, continue to denounce human rights violations that are being committed in the country.

FIDH calls on Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo to demand that their forces cease attacking the civilian population. FIDH recalls that the atrocities committed against civilians can be described as war crimes and that their perpetrators will be prosecuted before national or international justice mechanisms, the International Criminal Court has being seized regarding the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.

FIDH calls upon UNOCI forces to strengthen its patrols in order to protect civilians, in accordance with its mandate.

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