Reparations for War Victims

VOA 2015-10-21 13:27



Five years after the deadly 2010 post-election violence in Ivory Coast, the country is determined to consolidate its peace. And to help in that reconciliation, President Alassane Ouattara created agencies aimed at providing reparation for war victims. The first batch of victims was compensated last August. But many are still waiting, and some are losing patience over the lagging process.

Reparations for War Victims

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Twenty-four-year-old Samate Abdoulaye is a survivor. He was shot in the head during the post-election violence in Ivory Coast in 2010. His father was killed while out trying to gather money for his son's operation.

The family has been struggling to make ends meet ever since. Abdoulaye has lifelong after-effects from his war injuries -- which prevent him from doing hard physical work to help out his mother and two younger siblings. He is currently studying for an office job.

"If I have this compensation fund I will invest it and I will give me some peace of mind. I will be able to pursue my studies knowing that my family has something to fall back on, financially "

Ivory Coast's government has pledged to compensate the victims of the country's various crises between 1990 and 2012 -- Free heathcare for injured people, scholarships for war orphans, and cash payments for the families of those killed during the war.

But most of the victims still have not received anything, and they are getting impatient.

Earlier this month, some of them protested in front of the CONARIV, the government agency in charge of listing all victims entitled to compensation.

They were pressing the agency to finally release the list of victims and for war children to have free education.

"Conariv has identifed the victims and told us the total from various lists is 130 000 victims," said Diaby. "They told us that now they need to verify it and give a definitive list to the president (of Ivory Coast), so he can validate it, and the victims can start receiving payment. But since it was created, the CONARIV hasn't been able to produce this list."

The CONARIV was created recently to finish the job of another agency whose list was deemed incomplete after 3 years of work.

Commissioner Françoise Kaudjhis–Offoumou says there are many challenges to putting together a definitive list.

"There are victims in isolated areas who couldn't be identified," she said. "It is for them that were are extending the delay to register. "

Kaudjhis also says the verification process takes time, with teams cross-referencing data on computers, via phone calls or, when necessary, in the field.

There is some progress on the payment front. Last August, 4 500 victims of the 2010-2011 post-election violence received payments.

Aya Kouadio was one of them. Both her husband and his brother were killed, leaving two wives and 17 children behind. When Kouadio received the money, she divided it among all the children.

Now she would like the government to help her children get an education so they can find jobs.

"Before school starts, they should say 'here are the children of the crisis, here are their cases, here is what we'll do to help them'. We shouldn't have to do sit-ins or cry to people. We are tired of begging," Kouadio said.

Kouadio adds that she's hopeful...that getting some kind of compensation is a good first sign that the reparation process is going in the right direction.






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