Security Council Demands End to Violence in Cote d’Ivoire, Imposing Sanctions against Former President and Urging Him to ‘Step Aside’, in Resolution 1975
6508th Meeting (PM)
Security Council Demands End to Violence in Cote d’Ivoire, Imposing Sanctions
against Former President and Urging Him to ‘Step Aside’, in Resolution 1975
Demanding an immediate end to the surge in violence against civilians in Côte d’Ivoire, the Security Council this evening imposed targeted sanctions against recalcitrant former President Laurent Gbagbo and his close associates, while reaffirming the mandate of the United Nations mission there to protect civilians, including to prevent the use of heavy weaponry against them.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1975 (2011) under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the Council said that five persons including Mr. Gbagbo, who are listed in an annex to the text, met the criteria set out in resolution 1572 (2004) for persons who obstructed the peace process and reconciliation in the country, obstructed the work of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), and committed serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
The 15-member body condemned the decision of Mr. Gbagbo not to accept the overall political solution proposed by the High-level Panel put in place by the African Union, and urged him to “immediately step aside”.
Considering that the attacks currently taking place in Côte d’Ivoire against the civilian population could amount to crimes against humanity, the Council firmly condemned the violence and other violations and abuses of human rights, in particular enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, killing and maiming of children and rapes and other forms of sexual violence, noting that the International Criminal Court might decide on its jurisdiction over the situation.
The Council stressed its full support given to UNOCI, “while impartially implementing its mandate, to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, within its capabilities and its areas of deployment, including to prevent the use of heavy weapons against the civilian population”. It requested the Secretary-General to keep it urgently informed of measures taken in that regard.
The Council urged all the Ivorian parties and other stakeholders — including the security forces — to respect the will of the people and the election of Alassane Ouattara as President of Côte d’Ivoire, as recognized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the African Union and the rest of the international community following the November polls.
Also by the text, the Council called on all parties to guarantee the safety of UNOCI and its security, freedom of movement and unhindered and immediate access throughout the country, to enable it to carry out its mandate. And it called on all parties to fully cooperate with the investigation launched by the Human Rights Council’s commission of inquiry of allegations of serious rights violations. It meanwhile condemned the use of media to incite violence, including against UNOCI.
It expressed deep concern about the increasing number of displaced persons, particularly refugees fleeing to Liberia, calling upon all Ivorian parties to cooperate fully with humanitarian actors aiding them.
Following the adoption of the resolution, Council Members said that the text sent a strong message to those who were fomenting violence and resisting the will of the Ivorian people. Most speakers also called for restraint by all parties, expressed grave concern over the humanitarian situation and supported the efforts of ECOWAS and the African Union to help bring about political reconciliation.
India’s representative, however, said that, although he had voted in favour of the resolution, peacekeepers should not be agents of regime change and UNOCI should neither become part of the political stalemate nor be drawn into a civil war. The mission and its staff should strictly and impartially follow their mandates as set out in Council resolutions.
He said that there should be no prior assumption about the nature of human rights crimes being alleged; each allegation should be investigated by national authorities. He also expressed his growing concern over hastily adopted resolutions, stressing that troop-contributing countries should be consulted before texts were drafted. He also noted that his country was not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the legal framework regarding non-States parties must be followed.
The representative of the Côte d’Ivoire paid tribute to the Council for adoption of the resolution, which demonstrated the body’s sensitivity to the distress calls of his people. He also paid tribute to what he called the “outstanding work” carried out by UNOCI. He affirmed his Government’s support of the presence of the mission on Ivorian territory and pledged that any individuals attacking it would be prosecuted. He assured the Council that no one connected with his Government was in any way involved with the recent attack on a United Nations helicopter.
Also speaking were the representatives of Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil, Gabon, United States, Germany, Colombia, United Kingdom and China.
The meeting was opened at 5:10 p.m. and closed at 5:50 p.m.
Following is the text of Security Council resolution 1975 (2011):
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions, in particular resolutions 1572 (2004), 1893 (2009), 1911 (2010), 1924 (2010), 1933 (2010), 1942 (2010), 1946 (2010), 1951 (2010), 1962 (2010), 1967 (2011), 1968 (2011) and the statements of its President relating to the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, and resolution 1938 (2010) on the situation in Liberia,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and unity of Côte d’Ivoire, and recalling the importance of the principles of good-neighbourliness, non-interference and regional cooperation,
“Reiterating its strong desire that the post-electoral crisis in Côte d’Ivoire be resolved peacefully and require an overall political solution that preserves democracy and peace and promotes lasting reconciliation among Ivorians,
“Commending the constructive efforts of the African Union High-level Panel for the resolution of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire and reiterating its support to the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for their commitment to resolve the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire,
“Welcoming the decision of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union adopted at its 265th meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government, held on 10 March 2011 in Addis Ababa, which reaffirms all its previous decisions on the rapidly deteriorating post-electoral crisis facing Côte d’Ivoire since the second round of the presidential election, on 28 November 2010, which recognize the election of Mr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara as the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire,
“Welcoming the political initiatives and noting the communiqué and the resolution on Côte d’Ivoire adopted by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS on 24 March 2011,
“Expressing grave concern about the recent escalation of violence in Côte d’Ivoire and the risk of relapse into civil war and urging all parties to show utmost restraint to prevent such outcome and to resolve their differences peacefully,
“Condemning unequivocally all provocative action and statements that constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility, hatred and violence made by any party,
“Condemning the serious abuses and violations of international law in Côte d’Ivoire, including humanitarian, human rights and refugee law, reaffirming the primary responsibility of each State to protect civilians and reiterating that parties to armed conflicts bear the primary responsibility to take all feasible steps to ensure the protection of civilians and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance and the safety of humanitarian personnel, recalling its resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009) and 1889 (2009) on women, peace and security, its resolution 1612 (2005) and 1882 (2009) on children and armed conflict and its resolution 1674 (2006) and 1894 (2009) on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts,
“Welcoming the Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/16/25 of 25 March 2011, including the decision to dispatch an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential elections of 28 November 2010,
“Stressing that those responsible for such serious abuses and violations, including by forces under their control, must be held accountable,
“Reaffirming that it is the responsibility of Côte d’Ivoire to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, to investigate alleged violations of human rights and international law and to bring to justice those responsible for such acts,
“Considering that the attacks currently taking place in Côte d’Ivoire against the civilian population could amount to crimes against humanity and that perpetrators of such crimes must be held accountable under international law and noting that the International Criminal Court may decide on its jurisdiction over the situation in Côte d’Ivoire on the basis of article 12, paragraph 3 of the Rome Statute,
“Determining that the situation in Côte d’Ivoire continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Urges all the Ivorian parties and other stakeholders to respect the will of the people and the election of Alassane Dramane Ouattara as President of Côte d’Ivoire, as recognized by ECOWAS, the African Union and the rest of the international community, expresses its concern at the recent escalation of violence and demands an immediate end to the violence against civilians, including women, children and internally displaced persons;
“2. Calls upon all parties to pursue the overall political solution of the African Union and, in this regard, welcomes the decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council Summit of 10 March to appoint a High Representative for the implementation of the overall political solution and calls upon all parties to fully cooperate with him;
“3. Condemns the decision of Mr. Laurent Gbagbo not to accept the overall political solution proposed by the High-Level panel put in place by the African Union, and urges him to immediately step aside;
“4. Urges all Ivorian State institutions, including the Defence and Security Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (FDSCI), to yield to the authority vested by the Ivorian people in President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, condemns the attacks, threats, acts of obstructions and violence perpetrated by FDSCI, militias and mercenaries against United Nations personnel, obstructing them from protecting civilians, monitoring and helping investigate human rights violations and abuses, stresses that those responsible for such crimes under international law must be held accountable and calls upon all parties, in particular Mr. Laurent Gbagbo’s supporters and forces, to fully cooperate with the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) and cease interfering with UNOCI’s activities in implementation of its mandate;
“5. Reiterates its firm condemnation of all violence committed against civilians, including women, children, internally displaced persons and foreign nationals, and other violations and abuses of human rights, in particular enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, killing and maiming of children and rapes and other forms of sexual violence;
“6. Recalls its authorization and stresses its full support given to the UNOCI, while impartially implementing its mandate, to use all necessary means to carry out its mandate to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, within its capabilities and its areas of deployment, including to prevent the use of heavy weapons against the civilian population and requests the Secretary-General to keep it urgently informed of measures taken and efforts made in this regard;
“7. Calls upon all parties to cooperate fully in the operation of UNOCI and French forces which support it, in particular by guaranteeing their safety, security and freedom of movement with unhindered and immediate access throughout the territory of Côte d’Ivoire, to enable them to fully carry out their mandate;
“8. Calls upon all parties to fully cooperate with the independent international commission of inquiry put in place by the Human Rights Council on 25 March 2011 to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations of serious abuses and violations of human rights committed in Côte d’Ivoire following the presidential elections of 28 November 2010, and requests the Secretary-General to transmit this report to the Security Council and other relevant international bodies;
“9. Condemns the use of Radiodiffusion Télévision Ivoirienne (RTI) and other media to incite discrimination, hostility, hatred and violence, including against UNOCI, as well as acts of intimidation and violence against journalists, and calls for the lifting of all restrictions placed on the exercise of the right of freedom of expression in Côte d’Ivoire;
“10. Expresses deep concern about the increasing number of internally displaced persons and Ivorian refugees, especially in Liberia, caused by the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, and calls on all Ivorian parties to cooperate fully with United Nations agencies and other actors working to enhance access to humanitarian aid to refugees and internally displaced persons;
“11. Reiterates its longstanding demand that Mr. Laurent Gbagbo lift the siege of Golf Hotel without delay;
“12. Decides to adopt targeted sanctions against those individuals who meet the criteria set out in resolution 1572 (2004) and subsequent resolutions, including those individuals who obstruct peace and reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire, obstruct the work of UNOCI and other international actors in Côte d’Ivoire and commit serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and therefore decides that the individuals listed in Annex I of this resolution shall be subject to the financial and travel measures imposed by paragraphs 9 to 11 of resolution 1572 (2004), and reaffirms its intention to consider further measures, as appropriate, including targeted sanctions against media actors who meet the relevant sanctions criteria, including by inciting publicly hatred and violence;
“13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
1. Laurent Gbagbo
Date of birth: 31 May 1945
Place of birth: Gagnoa, Côte d’Ivoire
Former President of Côte d’Ivoire: obstruction of the peace and reconciliation process, rejection of the results of the presidential election.
2. Simone Gbagbo
Date of birth: 20 June 1949
Place of birth: Moossou, Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Group of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI): obstruction of the peace and reconciliation process, public incitement to hatred and violence.
3. Désiré Tagro
Passport number: PD – AE 065FH08
Date of birth: 27 January 1959
Place of birth: Issia, Côte d’Ivoire
Secretary-General in the so-called “presidency” of Mr. Gbagbo: participation in the illegitimate government of Mr. Gbagbo, obstruction of the peace and reconciliation process, rejection of the results of the presidential election, participation in violent repressions of popular movements.
4. Pascal Affi N’Guessan
Passport number: PD-AE 09DD00013.
Date of birth: 1 January 1953
Place of birth: Bouadriko, Côte d’Ivoire
Chairman of the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI): obstruction of the peace and reconciliation process, incitement to hatred and violence.
5. Alcide Djédjé
Date of birth: 20 October 1956
Place of birth: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
Close advisor to Mr. Gbagbo: participation in the illegitimate government of Mr. Gbagbo, obstruction of the peace and reconciliation process, public incitement to hatred and violence.
Speaking after the vote, U. JOY OGWU ( Nigeria) said that when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had urged the Security Council to revisit the situation in Côte d’Ivoire, it had done so in response to the rapidly deteriorating political, security and humanitarian situations in the country. The fragile peace established by the Ouagadougou accords was rapidly unravelling and, as the violence escalated, civilians were increasingly under attack with heavy weapons and explosives. Those most at threat of indiscriminate attacks were women and children. Such heinous acts violated international humanitarian law, and the fact that the violence was taking on ethnic and sectarian overtones was evidence of the risk that inaction would pose.
Additionally, she continued, as Ivorians fled their homeland, their mounting numbers were placing undue burden on their neighbours, threatening to destabilize the entire West African subregion. Moreover, the risk that the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire would spill over “is all too real”. Expressing concern about evidence of attacks on foreign nationals, including ECOWAS States, she said the situation required international attention, insisting that the global community “must act now”. The crisis in Côte d’Ivoire was directly related to Laurent Gbagbo’s intransigence, she said, which threatened to undo all the progress that had made that country one of the beacons in the subregion.
The resolution just adopted, among other things, reinforced the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) mandate and emphasized the need to protect civilians, she said. The collective action by the Council was a significant step to protect defenceless civilians, including women and children that were bearing the brunt of the attacks. The unrest was spiralling out of control and the resolution could help stem the tide of conflict and ensure fulfilment of the valiant aspirations of the Ivorian people.
HARDEEP SINGH PURI (India) said that his delegation had been following with concern the situation in Côte d’Ivoire and believed that along with ending the violence, all Ivorian parties should exercise maximum restraint and respect the outcome of the elections. During the past three months, India had supported all efforts to address the political crisis, including those of ECOWAS and the African Union to craft a way forward. India had voted in favour of the resolution today, and continued to believe that United Nations peacekeepers should draw their mandates from relevant Council resolutions. Those peacekeepers could not be agents of regime change.
He stressed that UNOCI should not become part of the political stalemate or be drawn into civil war. Rather, the mission and its staff should strictly and impartially follow their Security Council-authorized mandates. He said the Council had heard various allegations of violence and human rights violations and there should be no a prior assumption about the nature of such crimes; each allegation should be investigated by national authorities.
He also expressed concern about the growing tendency to hurry adoption of resolutions and he believed that more time should be given for consultations among all concerned countries and parties. In that, troop-contributing countries should be consulted first, before the terms of texts that concerned them were drafted. He noted that India was not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and said the legal framework regarding such countries must be followed.
BASO SANGQU ( South Africa) said he remained deeply concerned about the situation and believed that the African Union, ECOWAS and the United Nations should bolster the parties’ efforts to find the best course to a political solution. Indeed, solidifying democracy and good governance in Côte d’Ivoire was the only sustainable approach. To that end, he noted that the African Union had recently met to consider the issue, and he encouraged the African Union Commission to follow through with its intention to appoint a High Representative with a mandate to help the country find a way out of the crisis. Today’s resolution strengthened UNOCI and called for a peaceful settlement of the issue. He urged the Ivorian parties to comply with the text, and through their actions, work towards a political solution that took into account the wishes of all Ivorian people.
MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI ( Brazil) said that her delegation had been following with great concern the escalation of violence and human rights violations taking place in Côte d’Ivoire. Brazil supported a clear message from the Council that all violence should stop immediately, and she urged all Ivorians to exercise restraint. Further, all parties must respect UNOCI and its staff and allow the mission to carry out its activities without interference. At the same time, UNOCI must remain impartial so as not to become part of the conflict. Brazil was encouraged that the resolution contained provisions emphasizing the need to pursue a political solution towards lasting peace among all Ivorians.
NELSON MESSONE ( Gabon) said that his delegation had always sought a political solution to the crisis. Following the elections, his country had agreed with the position of the African Union, the United Nations and the wider international community in support of Alassane Ouattara’s victory. Gabon had also supported all efforts to promote dialogue towards finding a lasting solution to the post-election crisis. Gabon firmly condemned all violence and use of heavy weaponry, especially against innocent civilians. His country had also condemned the actions of all those seeking to interfere with UNOCI’s work.
He said the aim of today’s resolution was to ensure, among other things, better civilian protection and improvement of the humanitarian situation, which had deteriorated to the point that it was threatening other countries in the subregion. Measures in the resolution should also support efforts aimed at ensuring peace, democracy and reconciliation among all Ivorians, as well as pave the way for the country’s reconstitution.
SUSAN RICE ( United States) welcomed the adoption of what she called a strong resolution that sent a strong signal to Mr. Gbagbo and his followers to immediately reject violence and respect the will of the Ivorian people. Mr. Gbagbo and his followers were at a crossroads and they could choose further violence and isolation or they could join in building prosperity and democracy in their country. She pledged to work with Mr. Ouattara’s Government in that latter quest and urged all parties to exercise restraint.
MIGUEL BERGER ( Germany), welcoming the resolution, said that the situation was highly alarming. The text sent a strong signal to Mr. Gbagbo and his associates that their time to step aside had come, as well as the time for the start of a process towards peace and reconciliation. He urged all parties to show restraint and prevent relapse into civil war. Those who attacked civilians and ONUCI should be brought to justice, and he urged efforts to be redoubled to find a political solution to the crisis. He also urged that the humanitarian and human rights situation be kept under sharp review.
NÉSTOR OSORIO ( Colombia) also expressed serious concern over the situation, reiterating the primary responsibility of Côte d’Ivoire to protect its citizenry and hoped that UNOCI could also play its part in that effort. The sanctions included in the resolution should be implemented and the full compliance of all ensured. A political solution to the crisis must be found that included recognition of the results of last November’s election.
PHILIP PARHAM ( United Kingdom) agreed that the resolution sent a strong message and that the situation remained of grave concern. He said that the text authorized measures that responded to the call of ECOWAS. He supported that organization’s continuing role, as well as that of the African Union, in finding a political solution to end the crisis. He stressed that the resolution did not alter UNOCI’s role, but reaffirmed the mission’s existing mandate to protect civilians, including by preventing the use of heavy weapons against them.
Speaking in his national capacity, Security Council President LI BAODONG ( China) said his delegation had voted in favour of the resolution as it was seriously concerned at the deteriorating situation in Côte d’Ivoire. He called on all parties to end violence and armed confrontation and to seek a solution through dialogue and other peaceful means. China appreciated the efforts of the African Union and ECOWAS to help the parties find such a solution. China’s position on the International Criminal Court remained unchanged. China had always believed that United Nations peacekeeping operations must abide by the principle of impartiality and must adhere strictly to the mandates set out by the Security Council. UNOCI, he said, must help with efforts to find a political solution to the crisis and not become party to the conflict.
YOUSSOUFOU BAMBA ( Côte d’Ivoire) said that the protection of civilians in danger tied to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, including the massive movement of refugees and internally displaced persons, were topics of grave concern for President Ouattara and his Government. The international community, like the Government, could not remain silent and without reaction. It must find the means to protect civilians and get humanitarian aid to those who needed it.
He said, therefore, that following the requests of the African Union and ECOWAS to strengthen UNOCI’s mandate, as well as to impose targeted sanctions, his delegation sought a strong and robust response from the Council, which, he said, had today been delivered by the passage of resolution 1975 (2011).
He paid tribute to the Council for its sense of responsibility, demonstrating its sensitivity to the distress calls of the Ivorian population. He also paid tribute to what he called the “outstanding work” carried out by UNOCI. He affirmed that his Government supported the presence of the mission on Ivorian territory and pledged that any individuals attacking it would be prosecuted. He said that no one connected with his Government had in any way been involved with the attack on a United Nations helicopter.
Ivorians wanted to re-establish peace and build democracy and respect for human rights, he said, recalling the appeal launched by the President for reconciliation. While awaiting the set-up of a government of national unity, the Government had set up a programme to rapidly meet the most pressing needs of the population, including water, education, electricity and health services. He reaffirmed his Government’s desire to cooperate fully with the United Nations and ECOWAS in any efforts to restore peace and security in Côte d’Ivoire.
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