U.N. calls for investigation of rights abuses in Ivory Coast

Dec. 6, 2013 at 10:40 PM   |   Comments

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The United Nations Friday called for an investigation into human rights violations perpetrated for years in Ivory Coast by traditional hunters known as Dozos.

The United Nations issued a report Friday saying its investigators have documented hundreds of "extrajudicial killings and summary executions, illegal arrest and detentions" committed by Dozos in the process of carrying out security duties for the Ivory Coast government from March 2009 to May 2013.

Investigations concluded at least 228 people were killed, 164 were wounded in shootings or stabbings and 162 were "arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained by Dozos" between 2009 and May 2013.

"In addition, 274 cases of looting, arson and extortion committed by the Dozos have been confirmed," a U.N. news release said.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Dozos "involved in the perpetration of human rights violations must be held accountable."

Pillay said Ivory Coast authorities "have the duty to deploy appropriate security forces throughout the country to prevent the population from using Dozos on security issues. Impunity granted to Dozos in [Ivory Coast] is unacceptable and must be stopped."

The report was prepared by the United Nations peacekeeping operation in Ivory Coast and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. It called for a government investigation into the activities of the Dozos, a traditional group in the country.

The Dozo are a traditional fraternity rather than an ethnic group. While the group has existed for hundreds of years, it became more prominent and numerous during the years of political instability and civil war in Ivory Coast that began in the 1990s.

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