CÔTE D'IVOIRE / UNOCI CONCERNED OVER PRISON BREAKS, REAFFIRMS ITS WILL TO KEEP PROVIDING SUPPORT TO THE IVORIAN AUTHORITIES
ABIDJAN, Côte d'Ivoire, May 7, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The 2010-2011 post-election crisis was marked, among other things, by the escape of close to 12,000 prisoners from the 22 penitentiaries in the south of Côte d'Ivoire. These mass escapes were accompanied by the destruction of infrastructure and equipment. Since then, a significant disruption of the functioning of the justice system, especially penal justice, has been noted, as has been the impact on public safety.
The UN Security Council, in its Resolution 2000 of 27 July 2011, decided that the UN Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) would help the Ivorian Government to urgently rehabilitate infrastructure and restore equipment, in coordination and support with international partners.
Since July 2011, in support of the Ivorian Government, many actors, including UNOCI, the European Union, the ICRC and USAID, have mobilized to finance the rehabilitation and equipping of prisons. Ten months on, 28 out of 33 prisons have been restored to working order throughout the country. These accomplishments have enabled the Ivorian justice system to resume work, and this is a significant achievement.
However, UNOCI remains very concerned at the high number of mass prison breaks that have occurred since January 2012. There have been five, in Dimbokro, Katiola, Korhogo, Agboville, and, on 4 May 2012, at the Maison d'arrêt et de correction d'Abidjan, the main penitentiary in the Ivorian economic capital.
UNOCI encourages the Ivorian Government to include the situation of the prisons in its priorities and intends to work resolutely with the national authorities to contribute to the identification and implementation of appropriate measures in conformity with international standards for penitentiary security