With UN help, Côte d'Ivoire takes further step towards rule of law by reopening prison

By United Nations
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United Nations peacekeepers have helped Côte d'Ivoire repair and renovate the prison in Abidjan, the country's biggest city, after it was emptied in recent post-electoral violence, part of a broader effort to re-establish the rule of law.

“This is a very important advance at the level of the state of law and the restoration of institutions,” Françoise Simard, legal officer in the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI), said at today's re-opening ceremony. “We must congratulate Côte d'Ivoire for its determination to re-open the prison.”

UNOCI took an active part in the renovations, helping to get the administration buildings up and running and providing computers and registers as the country recovers from the violence spawned by former president Laurent Gbagbo's abortive effort to stay in power despite his UN-certified election defeat last November to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara.

Mr. Gbagbo was finally arrested in April and Mr. Ouattara was installed in office, securing the election's aim of reuniting the country, which was divided into a Government-held south and a rebel-controlled north following a civil war in 2002.

Sixteen prisoners were reinstalled in the prison today.

UNOCI, which with some 10,000 uniformed personnel on the ground, has been supporting stabilization and reunification efforts in Côte d'Ivoire over the past seven years.