Sunday, February 08, 2009

Cote D'ivoire: Helping former fighters’ return to civilian life

The United Nations is helping former combatants and members of self-defence forces to ease back into civilian life in Côte d’Ivoire, which has been divided since 2002 between the Government-held south and opposition-dominated north.

The six-month initiative will offer vocational training and assistance for some 1,300 people and set up over 1,000 micro-credit projects, such as cattle farming and retailing activities.

Funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, it is a joint scheme of the UN peacekeeping operation in the West African nation (UNOCI), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the non-governmental organization International Office for Migration (IOM).

So far, around 10,000 former fighters have been disarmed in Côte d’Ivoire, with an additional 35,000 combatants and 20,000 self-defence group members waiting to be reintegrated. Some 9,000 ex-fighters will be integrated into the army and national police force.

Demobilization and reintegration of ex-fighters is an important part of the 2007 Ouagadougou Agreement, the political accord reached in neighbouring Burkina Faso that aims to reconcile the Government and the rebel Forces Nouvelles.

Source: UN News Centre
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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