UNSC imposes targeted sanctions against Gbagbo

Thursday, March 31, 2011

New York - The UN Security Council has demanded an immediate end to the violence against civilians in Cote d'Ivoire, and has decided to adopt targeted sanctions against the West African country's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo, who had refused to give up presidency, and his inner circle.

These measures were contained in a resolution adopted by the 15- nation Security Council on Wednesday. 

The resolution was passed on the same day that fighters supporting Cote d'Ivoire's internationally recognized president, Alassane Ouattara, seized Yamoussoukro, the nation's administrative capital.

"The Security Council demands an immediate end to the violence against civilians, including women, children and internally displaced persons, and urges all the Ivorian parties and stakeholders to respect the will of people and the election of Alassane Dramane Ouattara as president of Cote d'Ivoire," the resolution said.

The resolution adopted sanctions targeted at Gbagbo, his wife Simone Gbagbo, his close advisor Alcide Djedje and his two close associates. The sanctions include travel ban and asset freeze.

The Security Council imposed "targeted sanctions" on these Ivoiran individuals "who obstruct peace and reconciliation in Cote d'Ivoire, obstruct the work of UNOCI (the UN Operations in Cote d' Ivoire) and other international actors in Cote d'Ivoire and commit serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law," the resolution said.

The resolution echoed the previous UN appeals that Gbagbo must go and urged all Ivorian State institutions, including the Defense and Security Forces of Cote d'Ivoire, "to yield to the authority vested by the Ivorian people in President Alassane Dramane Ouattara."

The Security Council condemned Gbagbo's decision 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", the resolution said.

The resolution also reiterated the longstanding UN demand that Gbagbo "lift the siege of Golf Hotel without delay." Ouattara is protected by UN peacekeepers in the hotel.

Gabagbo had refused to cede office despite his rival Ouattara being recognised by the international community as the rightful winner of the November elections in the West African nation.

The resolution, tabled by France and Nigeria, was adopted amid growing violence in Cote d'Ivoire. Nigeria is one of the 10 non- permanent members of the 15-nation Security Council.

Since 28 November 2010, Cote d'Ivoire has been torn apart between two presidents, the country's electoral body in December 2010 declared Outtara as winner of the presidential election, but incumbent President Gbagbo who was declared as the winner by the Constitutional Council has refused to hand over power.

Forces loyal to Gbagbo have attacked civilians and UN peacekeepers, killing more than 460 people and displacing an estimated 500 000, causing them to become internally displaced persons or refugees in countries like Liberia.

The Security Council "expresses deep concern about the increasing number of internally displaced persons and Ivorian refugees, especially in Liberia, caused by crisis in Cote 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," said the resolution.

The Security Council expressed "grave concern about the recent escalation of violence in Cote d'Ivoire and the risk of relapse into civil war" and urged "all parties to show utmost restraint to prevent such outcome and to resolve their differences peacefully," said the resolution.

The Security Council condemned "the serious abuses and violations of international law in Cote d'Ivoire, including humanitarian, human rights and refugee law," the resolution said.

The Security Council condemned "unequivocally all provocative statements that constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility, hatred and violence made by any party," the resolution added.

Forces loyal to Ouattara seized two towns near Abidjan and advanced to within 130km of the cocoa port of San Pdero on Wednesday, reports said.

The push through the western region of Cote d'Ivoire has left Ouattara in controlling most of the cocoa-growing areas. Cote d' Ivoire leads the world in production and export of the cocoa beans used in the manufacture of chocolate, supplying 46 percent of cocoa produced in the world.