Saturday, March 17, 2007

Ivorian peace plan inches forward, none too soon

In the wake of the (at least) seventh Ivorian peace accord, there are some moderately hopeful signs.

Today, head of state Laurent Gbagbo signed a decree creating a new national military structure that will integrate rebel forces.

Both sides say they have also reached agreement on an identification programme to give Ivorian identity papers to millions who do not have them.

There have been so many peace accords, most Ivorians are not ready to pop the champagne corks yet. But this is a hopeful step and one that comes none too soon.

Amnesty International reports that sexual violence has skyrocketed in the country.

As is too often the case, Fighters from all sides have used sexual violence as part of a deliberate strategy to instil terror in and to humiliate the population, according to the UK-based organization.

Though the group points out that there was some politically-motivated sexual violence even before the start of the country's civil war in 2002.

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