UNOCI Tour in Sominassé and Guire to sensitise people on children’s rights, peace and tolerance

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26 Jul 2013

UNOCI Tour in Sominassé and Guire to sensitise people on children’s rights, peace and tolerance

The United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire continues its sensitization activities throughout the country. In this regard, it organized a caravan, known as "UNOCI Tour" on 19 July 2013 in Sominassé, situated 602 km northwest of Abidjan, in the department of Nassian and in Guire, in the department of Méagui, 92 km from San Pedro, on 24 July 2013.

The aim of these meetings, organized in collaboration with the local communities of the places visited by "UNOCI Tour", was to promote a good understanding of the Mission's mandate, seek the involvement of the local population in the national reconciliation process and establishing a peaceful post-crisis environment. In this regard, UNOCI held discussions about the best ways to establish a culture of peace.

The youth president of Guire, Clah Marius, asked inhabitants of the village to become involved in the reconciliation process. « Let's forget our rancour and take each other's hands to advance, because united, we will be much stronger," he said. The deputy prefect, Kouadio Arnaud Mathieu, for his part, urged his community to seize the opportunity of the occasion created by UNOCI to diagnose the hurt, while envisaging solutions together, which could help re-establish dialogue and harmony between villagers.

It should be noted that in Guire, several issues including child protection and putting an end to certain traditional practices which adversely affect the well-being of children, girls and women were raised by personnel from the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire.

In Sominassé, the atmosphere was tense between the authorities and the population, following the refusal of parents to allow their children to take end-of-term exams in Banvayou. The villagers in Sominassé were not happy with the choice of Banvayou as the examination centre made by the Regional Directorate of Education. The parents protested by refusing to allow 120 children from the village to take their exams in Banvayou. The representatives from UNOCI's Human Rights Division, Child Protection Section and Public Information Office urged parents to consider the interest of their children and respect their rights. They urged them to put aside their rancour, be tolerant, and teach their children the value of peace.

At the end of the three-hour discussions, the villagers of Sominassé apologized to the administrative authorities for their action. "We were wrong but thanks to your advice, we will not repeat this action and are committed to live in perfect harmony with our brothers in neighbouring villages," said Koffi Kouamé, youth vice-president on behalf of the chief Brahima Amadou.

In Guire, in the department of Méagui, some 200 persons took part in the discussion with the UNOCI delegation in the presence of the deputy prefect of Oupoyo, Kouadio Arnaud Mathieu, while in Sominassé, 50 people, including six women, participated in the meeting which took place in the presence of the Prefect of Nassian and the deputy prefect of Sominassé, Jonas Blai Tan.