Ivory Coast remains fragmented, envoy says

June 12, 2013 at 11:03 AM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, June 12 (UPI) -- The political culture in Ivory Coast remains fragmented despite democratic progress made since contentious 2010 elections, a U.N. rights envoy said.

Thousands of Ivorian citizens died during conflict that followed presidential elections in 2010. The contest was meant to unite a country divided by violence, but instead pushed Ivory Coast to the brink of civil war.

Doudou Diene, a Senegalese lawyer working as an independent rights expert for the United Nations in Geneva, told the Human Rights Council he was concerned about political progress in Ivory Coast.

"Although the basis of the democratic reconstruction in Ivory Coast is in place and the social and economic recovery is under way, the country is facing a profound political fragmentation," he said in a statement.

Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is awaiting trial at The Hague for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the post-election violence. Supporters of President Alassane Ouattara are suspected of human rights violations during the unrest as well.

"Justice is at the center of both democratic reconstruction and of national reconciliation," Diene said. "It is an essential element for the return of the rule of law and for the return of the confidence of the Ivorian population."

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