Ivorian IDPs top concern for U.N.

July 31, 2012 at 10:38 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 31 (UPI) -- Some members of the Ivorian population are forced to hide in the wilderness overnight to shield themselves from violence, a U.N. envoy said.

U.N. Special Envoy on the Internally Displaced Chaloka Beyani briefed the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Right following his weeklong tour of Ivory Coast.

He said the Ivorian government made "commendable progress" in restoring order to parts of the country but there were critical needs left unmet for the IDP population.

"Some communities that were affected by displacement, and some returnees, continue to hide in the forest at night due to fears of attacks," he said during his briefing.

The United Nations said it was investigating a July attack on an IDP camp in Ivory Coast. At least seven people were killed and 5,000 refugees fled after the camp was burned. Rupert Colville, an OHCHR spokesman, said the attack was "clearly ethnically motivated."

The United Nations estimated there were at least 1 million people displaced by conflict following disputed elections in 2010. Many have since been displaced again, said Beyani.

The post-election crisis pushed the country to the brink of civil war. Former President Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court, though both parties to the conflict likely committed abuses.

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