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UN tasks Ivorian government to do more to prevent and punish rape

UN tasks Ivorian government to do more to prevent and punish rape

Ivory Coast

A United Nations report is tasking Ivorian authorities to intensify their efforts to prevent and punish rape, a crime that is on the ascendancy in the West African country.

The report documents 1,129 cases of rape in Ivory Coast between 1 January, 2012 and 31 December, 2015- adding that some 66 percent of the victims in these cases were children.

According to the report released jointly by the United Nations Operation in Ivory Coast (UNOCI) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), a three year trend analysis exposed issues of rape and attempted rape plus the state of prosecution of alleged perpetrators and the main obstacles to bringing a prosecution.

The report alluded to the fact that political instability had contributed to the upsurge in rape cases but since the hostilities ended individual cases have been reported. It further noted that stigmatization forced many victims not to lodge complaints.

“Despite the end of hostilities since 2011 and the respite brought by the gradual stabilization, instances of rape, mainly committed by individuals, continue,” the report noted.

The report, while highlighting progress made by the authorities, tasked the government to do more in the area of rape prevention and the fight against impunity for sexual violence.

The two bodies also called for action on the part of non-governmental organizations and the international community, to support the efforts of government in the fight.

‘‘The prevalence of rape was probably exacerbated by years of conflict in Ivory Coast, which fostered a culture of violence due to the general climate of insecurity and which were marked by persistent impunity due to the lack of systematic prosecution,” the report added.

The report further stated that slow procedures and court decisions, and various shortcomings in the conduct of investigations were also major obstacles in the fight against rape.

“Ivory Coast in recent years has recorded significant progress in terms of human rights, but the persistence of rape and impunity towards their perpetrators remain of serious concern and requires urgent action,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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