Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Today's biggest human rights crisis.... it's not Libya

The biggest human rights crisis going on now is not in Japan or Libya. Yet, the western press has largely ignored this other crisis. Over a million people have fled  and hundreds have been killed  in this other crisis. They flee because a politician who lost an election is trying to silence anyone who demands that he step down. Again, this is not in Libya, but is in the West African nation of Cote d'Ivoire.

Laurent Gbagbo remains in power despite losing an October election. Whenever people take to the streets to protest Gdagbo, he always sends police to fire on the crowd to disperse them. Alassane Ouattara is the internationally recognized winner of the election.

A blog post we found today provides an exhaustive reference source for what is going in Cote d'Ivoire. The blog Phil In The Blank hosts this great post titled Blog for Cote d'Ivoire. It contains links and snippets of stories from many news sources. As well as giving you a primer on the situation, the post also asks the question why the media isn't covering it, and gives you many links and resources to become more involved. Our snippet focuses on ways to spread the word about Cote d'Ivoire.

The people I spoke with in the doctor’s office yesterday did not know where Cote d’Ivoire was. Honestly, it’s hard to fault them. Education system does a poor job. Media is just as bad.

Talk to people. When most people hear the story they may envision some kind of tribal bush warfare.

Let them know that Cote d’Ivoire was once an economic powerhouse. 40% of the world’s cocoa is produced here and Abidjan has a skyline that looks like this. These facts are significant in the sense that they challenge common perceptions of Africa.

I’m not naive. I know that the fate of Cote d’Ivore rests in much larger machinery, namely the AU, ECOWAS, and the UN, or within the hands of Ivorians themselves. But allowing Cote d’Ivoire some space in our attention span does not take much effort, and with added eyes and hopefully, more news coverage, there is a chance that there will be less humanitarian crimes and of those that are committed, they will be widely seen and the people responsible will be held accountable.

In her blog Wait... What? Linda Raftree quotes this letter that she received from a friend working in West Africa. Her friend gives us the definitive reason why no one cares about Cote D'Ivorie and focuses on Libya instead.

Why this differential treatment? Well, the answer is fairly simple: Libya has oil, Cote d’Ivoire not. In the case of Libya the AU stood still and did not comment – not surprisingly as Khaddafi pays for most of half of all country memberships in the AU and has been a tremendous support for development in individual countries. In the case of Cote d’Ivoire they mobilized themselves to act but their negotiation missions all failed. It’s a crazy world. There is no interest from the international community in Human Rights. There is only interest in access and control over resources.”

1 comment:

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The crisis in Cote d'Ivoire is horrible

The United Nations is expected to reinforce its 9,000-strong peacekeeping mission with 2,000 more troops as the combat continues

This story does not get a lot of attention from the mainstream media. The world is largely ignorant of this world crisis. Thank you for spreading the word about this crisis