Cote d’Ivoire

Poverty, civil war, fears of religious persecution: any one of these can push women to have abortions. In Côte d'Ivoire, however, all of these factors are present, leading to what some claim are substantial increases in the termination of pregnancies. This is despite the fact that the procedure is illegal in this West African country.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cote d'Ivoire issued a scathing report on the country's penitentiary system, saying people were being held in overcrowded, unsanitary, crumbling prisons, with severe malnutrition a leading cause of death. The report also cited extended provisional custody, lack of health care and aging infrastructure as among the problems in Cote d'Ivoire's 33 prisons.

According to a 2003 ILO study covering 1,500 cocoa producers in Côte d’Ivoire, there are over 5,000 children working in the country’s cocoa plantations. These children may or may not be paid and are not receiving any form of education. Most come from the neighbouring countries and are victims of the child trafficking rackets organised with Burkina Faso, Benin and Mali.

The UN has run into difficulty in implementing its plan of issuing identity papers to the 3.5 million undocumented Ivorians ahead of the elections scheduled for October. Delays and allegations of fraud threaten to undermine the effort to remove one of the Ivory Coast conflict's most sensitive issues. The question of who is a "pure" Ivorian was behind the 2002 civil war and international observers see its resolution as vital for the elections to succeed.

Youths loyal to President Laurent Gbagbo threw up barricades and burned tires in a crowded, poor suburb of Cote d’Ivoire’s largest city on Monday (17 July) as a crucial effort to identify some 3.5 million undocumented Ivorians failed to unfold as planned. The youths, known as Young Patriots, prevented vehicles from circulating in the Abobo neighbourhood and said no hearings to establish citizenship should take place until northern rebels disarmed.