Reconciliation Key For Ivorian Recovery

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ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, Aug. 5 (UPI) — The way members of the former Ivorian government are treated could influence the war-torn country’s reconciliation process, a U.N. rights envoy said.

French peacekeepers helped detain former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo in April, ending a period of political violence that followed November presidential elections meant to heal the wounds from the country’s civil war.

Gbagbo refused to step down despite international recognition that rival candidate Alassane Ouattara, now president, won the election.

Guillaume Ngefa, acting human rights chief for the U.N. mission in Ivory Coast, said following meetings with former leaders, including Gbagbo, that treatment of members of the former regime was vital for the nation’s recovery.

“We are emerging from a crisis and the way officials of the former regime are treated can influence the efforts of everyone in the process of national reconciliation, given their special status,” he said in a statement.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his latest report on Ivory Coast warned the post-conflict situation in the country was “extremely precarious.”

International rights groups blame both sides for human rights abuses during the political crisis. At the request of Ouattara, the International Criminal Court is investigating the violence.

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