- The UN today reports on improvements in the conflict in Côte d'Ivoire, with the end of the broadcasting of hate messages. Pro-government media suddenly are calling for peace and restraint instead of hatred and the situation quickly has grown quieter.
Despite a high degree of uncertainty in the resurgent conflict in Côte d'Ivoire, life seems to be returning to normal in Abidjan and other major cities and hate broadcasts that raised the spectre of further ethnic violence have given way to calls for restraint and a return to work, the UN peacekeeping mission in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) reported today.
- National Radio and Television have been airing peace messages significantly different in tone and content to the ones we have been hearing of late, UNOCI said in a statement only one a day after the UN adviser on the prevention of genocide warned that the situation could be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The UN Security Council yesterday imposed an immediate arms embargo on the West African country and gave the parties one month to get the peace process back on track or face a travel ban and a freeze on their assets after government forces attacked northern rebels earlier this month in violation of a nearly two-year-old ceasefire agreement.
The proliferation of hate broadcasts was one of the most worrying aspects of the ensuing violence which escalated with anti-French rioting and ethnic clashes, after French troops destroyed the Ivorian Government's air force in reprisal for the deadly bombing of French peacekeepers in the UN-patrolled Zone of Confidence (ZOC) separating the combatants.
With thousands of Ivorians and foreigners, mainly French, fleeing the country, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Juan Mendez, warned yesterday that xenophobic hate speech could exacerbate already widespread violations of human rights, which in the recent past included extrajudicial killings, torture, disappearances and sexual violence.
Radio ONUCI, the UN mission's radio station, today was highlighting the UN Security Council resolution and Mr Mendez's message, and an increased presence of UN peacekeepers in Abidjan had contributed greatly to reassuring the local population and ensuring security of evacuees, the ONUCI reported.
Commercial activities were also said to have resumed but the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said electricity and water had not been fully restored in rebel-controlled areas in the north. The government of President Laurent Gbagbo is held responsible for the cut in water and electricity supplies.
Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that Ivorians arriving in Liberia - already estimated to have surpassed 10,000 - say more people are on the way. The refugees are pouring through at least a dozen entry points along a 45-kilometre stretch of relatively remote frontier, often crossing the border river in small canoes.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.