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Côte d’Ivoire: UN advocate for rights of displaced

UN advocate for the rights of displaced persons visits Côte d’Ivoire

With up to a million and a half people displaced by civil war and conflicts over land and ethnicity in Côte d’Ivoire, a top United Nation is official is visiting the country to investigate their plight and advocate for their rights, the UN operation there (UNOCI) said today.

Walter Kälin, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Representative on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), will meet members of the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, organizations representing displaced persons, and national and international bodies concerned with their protection.

During his mission, which runs through April, Mr. Kalin will visit Abidjan, the commercial centre, Yamoussoukro, the capital, as well as the cities of Daloa and Bouaké and the western towns of Duékoué, Guiglo, Toulépleu, San-Pedro and Tabou.

According to UNOCI, an estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million persons have been displaced in Côte d’Ivoire, seeking refuge mainly in urban and semi-urban areas, with nearly half a million of them displaced persons, mostly women and children, living in precarious conditions in Abidjan, the commercial centre.

Côte d’Ivoire has been divided between north and south since an aborted coup against President Laurent Gbagbo in September 2002 triggered a civil war that ended with a peace agreement in January 2003.

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