UN official condemns plan to expel displaced from church grounds in Côte

The United Nations Emergency Coordinator today condemned a proposed move to expel nearly 3,000 displaced people forcefully from a Roman Catholic mission in Côte d’Ivoire, announced in a Government circular this week, as counter to humanitarian principles.”The United Nations is deeply troubled by this flagrant display of lack of respect for humanitarian principles and for the people under our humanitarian protection,” Under-Secretary-General Jan Egeland of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.Repeated attacks on the civilian population of Duékoué and surrounding villages in late May and early June initially sent some 15,000 people to seek shelter at the Catholic mission. Of these about 2,700 remain.The UN Country Team in Côte d’Ivoire learned that the military sous-prefet of Duékoué distributed an official circular, dated 27 September, saying that the internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing at the local Catholic mission would be forcibly removed from that site tomorrow.Meanwhile, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Côte d’Ivoire, Pierre Schori, was set to attend the special summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Abuja, Nigeria, today.He said he would also go to the meeting of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 6 October. He would then travel to New York for a session of the Security Council, which issued a presidential statement last week repeating its support for the regional, continental African and international efforts to take the peace process forward.Mr. Schori invited the parties to the crisis to end the language of war, embrace dialogue, start working seriously and say, as President Laurent Gbagbo had done: “There will be no civil war in Côte d’Ivoire after 30 October.” Nationwide elections have long been scheduled for that day.

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