High-level Interpeace delegation supports national reconciliation in Côte D’Ivoire
December 20, 2013
In November, a delegation from Interpeace’s Governing Council headed by its Chairman and former President of Ghana John A. Kufuor, visited Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Interpeace and its local partner, INDIGO (Initiative for Dialogue and Action Research for Peace), are working to support the peacebuilding and reconciliation process in the country.
The delegation met with young people from Abidjan to listen to their views about the ongoing reconciliation process. They also attended meetings with high level officials from the Ivorian government.
Young people need to be included in the reconciliation process
The delegation met with 20 youth representatives from the municipalities of Abobo and Yopougon in Abidjan, the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire. These municipalities were the most prone to violence during the 2011 post electoral crisis. All the participants highlighted the need for young people to be a part of the reconciliation process. The youth shared that in the past they have been involved in violent activities and have been subject to political manipulation. This is in large part due to unemployment and the precarious living conditions facing young people. Unemployment causes frustrations among young people and increases the likelihood that they will resort to violence. The political situation remains volatile and the risk of youth reengaging in violence persists partly due to the large amount of weapons in their neighborhoods. One participant shared: “There are too many weapons. They are endangering the elections.” At the same time, the participants also looked at their own responsibility to be a force of positive change to ensure that the cycle of violence that occurred in the 2011 elections, does not repeat itself. The participants concluded that to avoid electoral violence in the 2015 elections, all sectors of society, including young people need to be involved in the reconciliation process and to take responsibility for moving the reconciliation process forwards, not backwards.
When reflecting on the discussion, Chairman Kufuor stated: “Through Interpeace’s involvement, support can be given to local organizations to ultimately end the fear of electoral violence and restore stability in the region.”
Support for reconciliation confirmed in high-level meetings with the government
The Interpeace delegation met with the Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan and members of his cabinet to reinforce Interpeace’s commitment to supporting Côte d’Ivoire’s reconciliation. President Kufuor congratulated the country on making great strides, but voiced his concerns that there are still pockets of conflict in certain communities. His Excellency M. Hamed Bakayoko, State Minister, Minister of Interior and Security stated after the meeting: “I welcome your engagement and your efforts to support peace in Côte d’Ivoire. Your work will ensure that the Ivorian crisis will not be aggravated.”
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