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Sr UN Rights Official Visits Ivory Coast & Liberia

Senior UN human rights official visits Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia

28 May 2008 - A top United Nations human rights official is visiting Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia this week for talks aimed at ensuring that protecting the rights of civilians will remain central to the reconciliation and reconstruction efforts in the two West African countries.

Kyung-wha Kang, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, arrived late yesterday in Liberia, the second stage of her visit, for discussions with national authorities, civil society groups and members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Gender-based sexual violence and the widespread impunity for the perpetrators of such violence is likely to be a focus of the talks, according to a press release issued by the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) in Geneva.

On this trip Ms. Kang has already held talks with Government officials, diplomats and senior UN staff in neighbouring Côte d'Ivoire.

Meanwhile, the UN peacekeeping mission to that country (UNOCI) has confirmed the start of the first phase of the post-conflict re-education programme for ex-combatants from the civil war.

UNOCI officials were among the guests on Monday at a ceremony in Bouake formally inducting 250 former rebel fighters, who will receive basic professional skills in agriculture, construction and computer science to help them try to re-start their lives.

ENDS

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