Towards Durable Solutions for Displaced Ivoirians | Internally Displaced Person | Refugee

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Six months after the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo and the end of major post-electoral conflict in Cote d’Ivoire, Oxfam International, CARE International, and the Danish Refugee Council have launched a report outlining the key remaining humanitarian and protection needs in the west of the country – the area worst affected by violence. Based on interviews and focus groups with hundreds of returnees and displaced people, the report highlights major gaps in the humanitarian response, and outstanding security concerns that are preventing a return to peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction. By 11th October 2011, 500,000 Ivoirians displaced by conflict had returned home, yet 450,000 remained displaced either in the country or in neighbouring states. The report found both groups required enhanced support. Over three-quarters of those interviewed reported not having enough to eat, while over 80 per cent of those still displaced had completely lost their source of income. Security concerns remained for many, while only 30% had heard of the Commission for Dialogue, Truth, and Reconciliation.
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    1 Joint Briefing Paper 11 October 2011 Women returnees in the village of Nedrou in the region of Moyen Cavally receive tools and seeds to rebuild their livelihoods.   Photo credit: Thierry Gouegnon/Oxfam   TOWARDS DURABLE SOLUTIONS FOR DISPLACED IVOIRIANS     2 Table of content Executive Summary 3 BACKGROUND 5 Context and Scale of Displacement Waves of spontaneous returns REASONS FOR RETURNS AND CONTINUED DISPLACEMENT 6 Reasons for return Reasons for continued displacement Incentives and lack of alternatives Insecurity, fear, rumours, and mixed messages CONTINUED HUMANITARIAN NEEDS 8 Food security and shelter are primary concerns Challenges livelihoods Access to basic services remains limited PROSPECTS FOR SECURITY AND RECONCILIATION 10 Community tensions Need for civilian authorities, reconciliation efforts and the rule of law CONCLUSION 12 RECOMMENDATIONS 13 SURVEY METHODOLOGY 15 Disclaimer The French terms “ autochtones ”, “ allochtones ” and “ allogenes ” are used in this report to refer to the different groups of people living in the country as they are commonly used in Côte d’Ivoire. This does not reflect the policies or the views of Care, DRC and Oxfam. In the context of the Moyen Cavally region where the study has been conducted, “autochtones” refer to the Guere ethnic group, “allochtones” to all other Ivoirian ethnic groups who migrated to Moyen Cavally and “allogenes” to all the migrants from the ECOWAS countries. The legal bases for durable solutions for displacements are the UNHCR Framework on durable solutions  and the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacements . The former focuses on promoting durable solutions for refugees and persons of concerns through repatriation to their country of srcin, local integration in the country of asylum or resettlement to a third country. The latter articulates the right of internally displaced persons to a durable solution in the Guiding Principles 28-30. Given the scale of returns, the report mainly focuses on these as a durable solution. The quotes reported in this paper are those of the respondent(s) and do not necessarily reflect the policies or the views of Care, DRC and Oxfam.      3 Executive Summary 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 srcin since the end of the conflict in April, approximately 450,000 Ivoirians remain displaced inside Côte d’Ivoire and in neighbouring countries, and both groups remain in need of enhanced humanitarian assistance and protection. Oxfam, DRC 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 analysed 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. Among other things, this report highlights that: ã   Security improvements have motivated displaced Ivoirians to return spontaneously, yet heightened intercommunity tensions and land disputes are not conducive to ensuring returns are sustainable. Ongoing intercommunity fighting is also leading to further displacements. ã   Beyond security, the three major factors influencing people’s willingness to return are the availability of humanitarian assistance in their place of srcin, support for transport and accurate information on the conditions of security. The return of civil authorities, disarmament and the reinforcement of security patrols were all also frequently mentioned. ã   As many as 22% of displaced people interviewed expressed their intention not to return to their place of srcin because of the destruction of their home, insecurity, the trauma they endured or land disputes. They had little or no idea of alternatives available to them. ã   Significant humanitarian needs remain in both areas of return and areas of displacement. Food is the overwhelming priority for most respondents, with 77 % of returnees and 83% of displaced people saying they do not have enough to eat, followed by shelter. Serious gaps in provision of education, healthcare and water were all also highlighted in both displacement and return areas. ã   Livelihoods are still seriously disrupted with 58% of returnees and 82% of displaced people having completely lost their source of revenue, facing many challenges to rebuild their lives. ã   Displaced people and returnees still face significant protection threats due to ongoing intercommunity fighting, racketeering at checkpoints, lack of access to basic services and continued acts of violence, harassment and intimidation by armed people. ã   There is very little knowledge about the existence of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and almost no knowledge of how to access it. People seeking redress are facing considerable obstacles as access to justice remains a major challenge.    4 ã   Displaced people and returnees still face significant protection threats due to ongoing intercommunity fighting, racketeering at checkpoints, lack of access to basic services and continued acts of violence, harassment and intimidation by armed people. ã   There is very little knowledge about the existence of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and almost no knowledge of how to access it. People seeking redress are facing considerable obstacles as access to justice remains a major challenge. While this study cannot provide a comprehensive picture of all needs in western Côte d’Ivoire, nor represent all views from diverse communities, it is clear that despite the end of the conflict and improvements in security, the situation in the west of Côte d’Ivoire is still highly precarious and unstable. Consultations with displaced people and returnees over the months of July and August reveal that conditions for durable returns are not met. Some returnees continue to suffer attacks, harassment and intimidation, upon return to their home, and many have limited or no access to basic services and protection mechanisms. A large proportion of returnees has lost their documentation and do not have access to property restitution mechanisms or compensation for their losses, while many have also not been able to reunite with family members. Significant numbers of displaced people are still not ready to return for fear of attacks, lack of access to their land and because they lack means for survival. 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. Detailed recommendations to these actors are outlined later in this report, but include: 1.   Ensuring a responsible, sustainable returns policy for those affected by conflict : a national legal framework should promote the rights of displaced persons and ensure that all returns are voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable. Both better profiling of population flows and much greater information to displaced people will be needed in support of this. Any strategy will need to consider the root causes of conflict, including land issues, and ongoing security concerns. 2.   Enhancing humanitarian assistance and providing greater support to rebuilding livelihoods : much greater support is needed for both IDPs and returnees, particularly in the west and especially in relation to food, shelter and livelihoods, although significant needs remain in basic services and in ensuring IDP sites meet SPHERE standards. Significant extra donor funding is required to meet the Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan. 3.   Promoting the re-establishment of the rule of law, supporting reconciliation and preventing further violence and displacements:  sustainable returns require security, justice and reconciliation, requiring security reform, the re-establishment of the rule of law, and effective systems of referral and redress. The reinforcement of patrols in insecure zones, the re-establishment of civil authorities, a process of disarmament, demobilisation and reinsertion, as well as better information around the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission are all needed to achieve this.
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