IRIN Films is pleased to announce the release of Côte d'Ivoire: In Search of Stability, the latest in a series of "primer" documentaries which, through interviews with experts and officials, outlines key issues and challenges faced by various countries.
For much of its post-independence history, Côte d'Ivoire was beacon of stability and an economic powerhouse in West Africa. But a coup d'état in 1999 was followed by more than a decade of political turmoil and sporadic armed conflict. An army mutiny in 2002 grew into a full-scale insurrection and the division of the country into the rebel-held north and the south controlled by the government of then President Laurent Gbagbo.
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Elections designed to end the crisis were repeatedly delayed but finally held, mostly peacefully, in October and November 2010. Both Gbagbo and his long-time rival Alassane Ouattara, who has close ties with the northern rebels, claimed victory and Gbagbo refused to step down, despite Ouattara's support from the international community. The stand-off degenerated into battles in Abidjan and other parts of the country, prompting up to a million people to flee their homes amid warnings of an imminent civil war. Gbagbo was arrested in April and Ouattara installed as president shortly thereafter.
As this IRIN film explains, although armed conflict and human rights abuses have subsided, Ouattara's new government faces the monumental tasks of rebuilding Côte d'Ivoire's devastated economy, delivering justice in a way that satisfies all citizens, and fostering lasting peace in a deeply divided country still awash with arms.
Previous IRIN Film primers cover Nepal, Burundi and South Sudan's independence referendum.