Minor conflict, major consequences? Facing an unresolved identity crisis in Côte d´lvoire

Authors:

  • Camilla Elowson

Publish date: 2011-03-16

Report number: FOI-R--3170--SE

Pages: 72

Written in: Swedish

Keywords:

  • Africa
  • West Africa
  • Côte d´lvoire
  • Ivorian identity
  • xenophobia
  • land
  • vulnerable populations
  • elections crisis
  • political violence
  • security developments
  • regional instability
  • non-government controlled areas
  • drugs and arms trafficking
  • international community
  • protection of civilians

Abstract

This report analyses the conflict situation in Côte d´lvoire, with a view to highlight potential insecurity developments. The report, commissioned by the Swedish Ministry of Defence, provides an understanding of key dynamics and stakeholders, as well as of the risk for further escalation of the instability in the country. The point of departure are the developments which could arise in Côte d´lvoire, but the centre of interest is also to analyse the important regional context, which involves the vulnerable Manu River countries. Another ambition of the report is to examine the role of the international community in Côte d´lvoire. This is done through a review of previous and present international involvement, as well as of considering possible future commitment and measures to be taken by international stakeholders to address the conflict situation. The report concludes that handling the current election crisis only by regulating the contested presidential post is a solution on the surface. As long as the root causes of the conflict - the issue of who is entitled Ivorian identity - is not thoroughly addressed at national and local level, the crisis in Cöte d´lvoire will resurge. Consequences are likely to be seen in terms of continued repression, human rights violations, fatalities, and increased polarisation between Ivorian identity groups. A maintained Ivorian crisis also risks setting the region on fire, with its high number of exposed populations being drawn into the conflict. For the international community, it is key to act in concurrence and to ensure that interventions are sustained. Taking measures to rapidly protect civilians should be a priority for international stakeholders.

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