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UN urges probe into human rights abuses by traditional hunters in Cote d'Ivoire


UN urges probe into human rights abuses by traditional hunters in Cote d'Ivoire

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Friday released a report calling for investigations into serious human rights abuses committed in Cote d'Ivoire by the Dozo, traditional hunters who have killed hundreds of people over the past four years.

The report, produced by the UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire ( UNOCI) in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, documented serious human rights abuses committed by the Dozo during their security activities, Farhan Haq, the acting UN deputy spokesman, told reporters here.

"According to the investigations, at least 228 people were killed and 164 others injured by bullets, machetes and knives, and 162 people were arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained by Dozo," Haq said at a daily news briefing here. "In addition, 274 cases of looting, arson and extortion committed by the Dozo have been verified and confirmed."

Navi Pillay, UN high commissioner for human rights, said the impunity enjoyed by the Dozo was "unacceptable" and "must be stopped."

She also stressed that the authorities had a duty to seriously investigate the human rights abuses and deploy security forces throughout the country to prevent people from using the Dozo for security reasons.

Doudou Diene, the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Cote d'Ivoire, and non-governmental organizations have already appealed for the government several times to take steps to address the issue of the Dozo, whose existence continues to pose a danger to the population.

Aichatou Mindaoudou, the UN secretary-general's special representative and head of UNOCI, welcomed the government's ongoing efforts to cover the entire country with professional security forces, calling them crucial steps to restore rule of law and "prevent the Dozo from carrying out security functions."

"The United Nations continues to offer its support to the Ivorian authorities for the advancement of security sector reforms. However, it is necessary that the government investigates human rights abuses committed by the Dozos, in the interest of victims' rights to truth, justice and reparation," she said.