Reports of abuses worry UN human rights expert

United Nations human rights expert Asma Jahangir expressed serious concern on Thursday about recent reports of extrajudicial executions in Cote d'Ivoire.

Jahangir is the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). She said she had been following the situation in the country closely since fighting erupted on 19 September, according to an OHCHR news release.

Jahangir noted that both government and armed groups had reportedly engaged in extrajudicial and summary executions of civilians, and that several mass graves had been identified recently, according to reports. The reports have been issued by international human rights organisations and the media. Jahangir urged all parties to refrain from such abuses, and said it was absolutely necessary to identify perpetrators and make sure they were held accountable in conformity with international standards.

Last week, villagers in Monoko-Zohi, a village near Vavoua town in western Cote d'Ivoire said up to 120 of their relatives had been killed by 'men in uniform' and buried in a mass grave. A French military spokesman confirmed the discovery of the mass grave.

For recent documents on human rights violations in Cote d'Ivoire visit:
http://web.amnesty.org/web/wire.nsf/December2002/Coted'Ivoire
http://www.hrw.org/reports/2002/cotedivoire/