U.N.: Reconciliation key for Ivory Coast

March 20, 2013 at 11:56 AM

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 20 (UPI) -- Leaders in Ivory Coast need to do more to encourage political reconciliation more than two years after civil conflict, a U.N. expert said from Switzerland.

Ivory Coast was pushed to the brink of civil war following disputed presidential elections in late 2010. Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo appeared before the International Criminal Court in February for his confirmation of charges hearing. He's accused of crimes against humanity in post-election violence.

Amnesty International said it was concerned that national forces under President Alassane Outtara were targeting Gbagbo's supporters.

Doudou Diene, a Senegalese lawyer working as an independent rights export for the United Nations in Geneva, said he was concerned about reconciliation and social development in a country with a history of violence. Elections in 2010 were meant to unite an Ivory Coast divided by earlier wars.

"A multicultural, democratic, egalitarian society that respects human rights is the best defense against this new peril that is fueled by violence, intolerance and discrimination," he said in a statement.

He expressed further concern that justice in Ivory Coast was tilted in Ouattara's favor.

"In order to face its internal and external challenges, Ivory Coast needs the international community's vigilant support to reinforce a democratic and pluralist dynamics," he said.

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