In a previous post, I introduced the subject of conflicts between northern and southern populations, and their effects throughout history. Today, I will explore this subject in terms of how current conditions demonstrate a path towards recovery. The government-controlled, Christian South no longer has greater political representation and support, as President Ouattara won the previous election. Has regional, ethnic, or political hostility changed throughout the course of two civil wars and one threatening election? Many of my classmates’ presentations thus far have confirmed the notion that a geographic or cultural ‘divide’ in many failed or weak states is not uncommon. Despite this deeply rooted division, however, Côte d’Ivoire’s path to state weakness may actually be altering its course for the better.
In July 2013, a briefing to the UN Security Council affirmed the importance of maintaining international support for Côte d’Ivoire as they begin an electoral cycle in 2015, especially because of the continued violence and political divisions. Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, spoke on behalf of the UNOCI when describing the President’s steps to “stabilize the security situation, accelerate economic recovery, and initiate key reforms.”
A united legislative assembly and successful municipal and regional elections this April demonstrate internal improvement, particularly within the political realm where most of the conflict subsists. This evidence highlights the ability of a more powerful national authority accepting responsibility for planning and protecting the voting process. In lieu of recent class discussions on the effectiveness of a democratic versus an authoritarian regime, Côte d’Ivoire’s emphasis on a successful voting process affirms their preference towards a democracy.
Another achievement for Côte d’Ivoire lies in President Ouattara’s plan to completely disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate all former combatants by the end of 2014. In one article summarizing this briefing, the author brings up one consequence of this ‘ambitious goal’: tens of thousands will require “durable solutions,” such as jobs, as they reenter society. If they are not offered employment or such support, serious threats to human rights and regional security could arise.
In the same article by a New Zealand Herald reporter, the author mentions other concerns such as the uncontrolled circulation of weapons, criminal activities, and violence between communities. Côte d’Ivoire’s western border with Liberia, for example, has experienced violent incidents, which were followed by the collaboration of both governments to increase security forces on each side of the border.
Despite President Ouattara’s deserving praise for demonstrating “remarkable resolve to tackle the many challenges the country is facing,” threats to the country’s long-term peace and stability persist and “should not be underestimated,” recommends the UN Peacekeeping Chief (The New Zealand Herald).