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Internally Displaced in Côte D’ivoire Town at Risk

Internally Displaced Persons in Côte D’ivoire Town at Risk

NEW YORK, 30 September (OCHA) -- Some 2,700 internally displaced persons who have sought shelter at the Catholic mission in Duékoué, a town in western Côte d’Ivoire, have been informed by local authorities that they will be forcibly removed from the mission on 1 October.

Condemning any such use of force to remove the internally displaced persons as counter to humanitarian principles, Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said: “The United Nations is deeply troubled by this flagrant display of lack of respect for humanitarian principles and for the people under our humanitarian protection.”

The United Nations country team in Côte d’Ivoire learned that the military sous-prefet of Duékoué had distributed an official circular, dated 27 September, stating that the internally displaced persons currently residing at the local Catholic mission would be forcibly removed from that site on 1 October. The Humanitarian Coordinator in Côte d’Ivoire issued a statement today to remind national and local authorities that any attempt to force the internally displaced persons to leave the mission would constitute a flagrant violation of international human rights standards and humanitarian principles.

That statement also reiterated the primary responsibility of national authorities to provide protection and humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons. The Humanitarian Coordinator has been in contact with the local authorities in Duékoué, who have agreed to give the United Nations country team and its partners time to make alternative arrangements for the internally displaced persons.

Repeated attacks on the civilian population of Duékoué and surrounding villages in late May and early June initially prompted some 15,000 people to seek shelter at the Catholic mission. Currently, there are approximately 2,700 displaced individuals who continue to be housed there.

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