On 27 May, the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, concluded a three-day official visit to Cocirc;te d'Ivoire during which she met with senior Government and United Nations officials to discuss the progress being made to address sexual violence crimes committed during the post-electoral crisis and beyond.
I welcome the progress made thus far by the Government of Cocirc;te d'Ivoire and in particular by the national armed forces - the Forces Reacute;publicaines de Cocirc;te d'Ivoire (FRCI), in addressing sexual violence crimesrdquo;, Special Representative Bangura said.
I have been able to interact with the national authorities and FRCI leadership, and see for myself the practical and operational steps being taken to prevent and respond to sexual violence crimes. We have been able to identify remaining challenges in the implementation of the FRCI Action Plan to combat conflict-related sexual violence and discussed the way forward towards the delisting of the FRCI from the annex of the annual report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violencerdquo;, Special Representative Bangura stated.
The FRCI was included in the annex of the annual report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence in 2012 as a party credibly suspected of being responsible for committing rape and other sexual violence crimes during the post-electoral crisis in 2010-2011.
During her stay in Abidjan, Special Representative Bangura met with H.E Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan; the Minister of State on Interior and Security; Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals; Minister on the Promotion of Women, Family and Children Affairs; the Chief of Staff at the Ministry of Solidarity, Social Cohesion and Victims Compensation; the Chief of Army Staff, Head of the Gendarmerie, the leadership of the United Nations' Operation in Cote d'Ivoire and the United Nations country team.
In meetings with the national authorities and military leadership, the Special Representative noted the progress made, including the development and implementation of the FRCI Action Plan, training and sensitization of FRCI soldiers, signing of undertakings by senior commanders of the FRCI, and the review of the code of conduct of the FRCI. It is important that such positive steps are shared with countries facing similar challenges. For this reason, later this year my Office will convene a meeting in Cocirc;te d'Ivoire, which will bring together African national armies from countries where we work � namely, the Central African Republic, Cocirc;te d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Somalia and South Sudan � to facilitate an exchange of good practices in addressing conflict-related sexual violencerdquo;, the Special Representative said.
She also raised remaining challenges faced by Cocirc;te d'Ivoire, including the need for legal reform to harmonize national laws with international standards, prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence crimes committed during the post-electoral crisis of 2010-2011, the provision of reparations to victims, and the improvement of multi-sectoral services to survivors.
The political and military authorities in Cocirc;te d'Ivoire have confirmed my long-held view that when national authorities demonstrate leadership and responsibility, they create an environment in which sexual violence crimes can be prevented and addressedrdquo;, Ms. Bangura noted. My Office, through the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law / Sexual Violence in Conflict, will build on this progress and support the Government in addressing the remaining challenges of justice and accountabilityrdquo;, Ms. Bangura added.
Source: Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.