UN Peacekeeping Mission Remains Critical to Cote d’Ivoire’s Future
About the Author: Victoria Holt serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs.
Flying into Abidjan, you see that Cote d’Ivoire is back in business. Streets are lit, cars are new, and the downtown has the vibrancy and neon signs of a busy capitol. Plans for development — such as a new bridge to link the city across its lagoons — are the government’s focus.
Little of this was imaginable a year ago, when the country faced a dramatic crisis of leadership — and a questionable future — after its November 2010 elections. For months, the UN peacekeepers, backed by the international community and French Licorne forces, held the line against a defiant former leader who refused to step down despite losing the Presidential elections to his rival. Yet today, with former President Gbagbo in the Hague for war crimes, President Ouattara is moving forward to put the past behind and build a united nation.
Beyond the bright lights, much work remains.… more »
U.S. To Contribute an Additional $7.5 Million for Humanitarian Response to the Crisis in Côte d’Ivoire/Liberia
The United States is announcing an additional pledge of $7.5 million in humanitarian assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia. With this latest funding, the U.S. is providing over $51 million in humanitarian assistance to refugees, IDPs, and other conflict-affected populations in the region. The Côte d’Ivoire political crisis turned violent after the run-off presidential election between victor Ouattara and incumbent Gbagbo in late November 2010 and uprooted hundreds of thousands of Ivoirians. More than 210,000 refugees fled from Côte d’Ivoire – most to Liberia; up to a million were displaced inside Côte d’Ivoire; and thousands of nationals of neighboring countries fled as well. The situation in Côte d’Ivoire is improving; but some continuing unrest is still generating new refugees, and fear among those who fled keeps a majority of refugees from returning home at present. Up to an estimated 500,000 remain internally displaced.
This latest U.S. contribution includes $6.5 million in support for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and $1 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This assistance will help provide basic life support such as food, health care, and essential household items; the construction and maintenance of camps where needed; increasing access to clean water; and will support efforts to restore family links severed as a result of displacement.
The United States, through the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, has provided more than $28 million for humanitarian response in Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, and other neighboring countries since March 2011. The U.S. Agency for International Development has also provided almost $23 million in funding and food aid to non-governmental organizations and UN agencies in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia.