Civilians at 'grave risk' in Ivory Coast fighting: Pillay
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned on Thursday that civilians were at grave risk from a flare-up of violence in Abidjan and the west of Ivory Coast.
"A humanitarian crisis is unfolding as people flee the fighting," Pillay told the UN Human Rights Council.
"I remain extremely concerned about the increasing violence and human rights abuses in Ivory Coast.
"The flaring up of armed clashes in Abidjan and the west of the country puts civilians at grave risk," she added.
Days of clashes have forced hundreds to flee the pro-Ouattara Abobo neighbourhood of northern Abidjan.
Some parts of Abobo, which has about 1.5 million residents, were "emptying of their population," the UN humanitarian coordinator in Ivory Coast Ndolamb Ngokwey has said.
The fighting in Abidjan, as well as unrest in the west, has prompted a surge in refugees fleeing into neighbouring Liberia, the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said last week.
The United Nations stepped up its criticism of outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo after his men opened fire on UN workers and briefly detained others on Monday.
"I deplore violent attacks by Laurent Gbagbo's supporters against the United Nations," Pillay said.
The UN rights chief said her office will present a report before the council's session closes on March 25 on the human rights situation in Ivory Coast following disputed election results last year.
Backers of rival claimants to the presidency, Gbagbo and his internationally-recognised rival Alassane Ouattara, have been locked in a sporadically violent stalemate since then.
© 2011 AFP