Six months after the resolution of the post-electoral stand-off in Côte d'Ivoire that followed the contested presidential elections of 28 November 2010, a humanitarian crisis of significant proportions remains. Whilst more than 500,000 have returned to their place of origin since the end of the conflict in April, approximately 450,000 Ivoirians remain displaced inside Côte d'Ivoire and in neighboring countries, and both groups remain in need of enhanced humanitarian assistance and protection.
Oxfam, Danish Refugee Council and CARE have all been working in Côte d'Ivoire to provide humanitarian assistance to individuals and communities affected by the crisis, including both those who have returned home and require assistance to rebuild their lives, and those who remain displaced. Recognising the need to listen to and understand the concerns of those affected by the crisis, this study was carried out to better shape the humanitarian response of all actors in the country.
Throughout July and August 2011, 331 interviews and 25 focus groups were carried out with returnees and displaced people in 27 communities in the region of Moyen-Cavally, western Côte d'Ivoire, gathering information on immediate humanitarian needs, perceptions of security, and prospects for the future. These were supplemented by documentary research and interviews with humanitarian actors. Women were the majority of those interviewed, and data collected was disaggregated and analyzed by gender.
The results present a picture of a region still struggling to overcome the effects of the post-electoral conflict, and one which will need sustained support for some time to come.
The following recommendations are based on the priorities identified through consultations with displaced people and returnees:
- Ensure a responsible, sustainable returns policy for those affected by conflict.
- Enhance humanitarian assistance and provide greater support to rebuild lost livelihoods
- Promote the re-establishment of the rule of law, support reconciliation and prevent further violence and displacements
Above all, it is imperative that all actors should ensure that returns are strictly voluntary, not coerced or forced by a lack of alternatives, and are adequately supported to promote durable solutions for those displaced by conflict, and those returning home.
The ultimate responsibility for the protection of displaced people and the promotion of durable solutions to their displacement rests with the Government of Côte d'Ivoire, although there are vital roles for UN agencies, donors and NGOs to play in supporting these efforts.