GENEVA, Dec. 5, 2012 — Despite massive abuses by its military recently committed during a brutal crackdown, Côte d’Ivoire was elected yesterday by the UN to serve as Vice-Chair of its Disarmament Commission, a decision eliciting sharp protest from the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch, which called for the move to be reversed.
“A government whose military has just committed widespread human rights abuses — including arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, extortion, inhuman treatment, and torture — should not be made vice-chair of a U.N. arms control body. The U.N. should recognize that it has sent absolutely the wrong message at the wrong time, cancel the decision, and apologize to the victims,” said Hillel Neuer, UN Watch executive director.
Abuses by the Côte d’Ivoire military were documented by the Guardian, citing a Nov. 19th report by Human Rights Watch.
President Ouattara’s rule is increasingly precarious, according to another Guardian article, with his government accepting military help from a rebel group now accused of carrying out mass atrocities against members of ethnic groups known to be allied with former president Laurent Gbagbo, now under detention by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Human rights groups have published voluminous reports detailing extensive abuses by the former Force Nouvelle, a rebel group based in the country’s north that allied itself with current President Ouattara and helped him seize power.