Norway thanks the Deputy High Commissioner for her comprehensive report. Its content testifies to the importance of this meeting. Norway is deeply concerned about the ongoing political crisis, the continued violence and the persistence of human rights’ violations in Côte d’Ivoire after the November 28 presidential elections in the country.
In this respect, Norway strongly supports the unanimous UN Security Council resolution 1962 of 20 December which urges all Ivorian parties and stakeholders to respect the outcome of the election in view of ECOWAS’ and the African Union’s recognition of Alassane Ouattara as President-elect, and which renews the mandate of UNOCI until 30 June 2011.
Renewing the UNOCI mandate is indispensible for enabling the UN – and the international community at large - to continue supporting the peace process and monitoring the increasingly alarming human rights situation. Repay tribute to the United Nations staff on the ground for their important work.
Norway welcomes this special session of the Council and the leadership demonstrated by the African group to this effect. It is imperative that the Council remains seized with this urgent matter.
Norway calls on all parties to refrain from any act of or incitement to violence and ensure that fundamental human rights are safeguarded, including freedom of the press. We are deeply concerned by reports of serious human rights violations including extrajudicial killings, abductions, torture and widespread sexually based violence. Norway underlines the fundamental principal of international law and that those liable for such gross human rights violations be held to account.
We commend the swift, determined and unequivocal action taken by African countries, through both ECOWAS and the AU, in this critical situation, demonstrating that the great majority of African countries adhere to fundamental democratic principles.
We encourage African countries and institutions to continue to take the lead in the efforts to find a peaceful and sustainable solution to the crisis, a solution that respects the outcome of the elections as declared by the Independent Electoral Commission and certified by UN SRSG in Côte d’Ivoire. A solution that is fully in keeping with democratic and all human rights principles.
Let me conclude by echoing the call of ECOWAS and AU on Laurent Gbagbo to abide by the results of the elections and yield power without further delay.