Monday, August 12, 2013
Urge Côte d’Ivoire to Excavate Mass Graves
Target: President Alassane Ouattara
Goal: Excavate the mass graves near displacement camp to bring closure to families who lost loved ones
Nahibly, a displacement camp in Cote d’Ivoire, was attacked by a mob in 2012 whose forces were made up of a state-sponsored militia and the Ivorian army. This camp was home to 2,000 displaced citizens who fled the violent election of that year, and it is estimated that 14 people — perhaps more — were killed in the attack. Their bodies are rumored to be disposed of in a well and they have not been identified. For a year citizens have demanded that the government excavate their graves to bring closure to families who do not know what has happened to their loved ones. The government has promised to do so, but has yet to come through with their word. It is inhumane to keep these families in the dark, especially while their killers still remain free.
It is believed that these bodies have not be exhumed because the victims weren’t aligned to the right parties. If the victims were known to be supporters of the government, they would have been identified. No family should be denied the location of relatives’ resting place based on political alignment.
Six corpses have been exhumed in one well, no doubt displaying the murderers’ disregard for their resting place. There are eleven more wells in the surrounding areas and it is speculated that bodies lie in those. These wells are guarded around the clock by UN peacekeepers and police officers, but a human rights defender who lowered himself into the well confirmed that at least one body rests there. The six corpses whose bodies were exhumed have had autopsies conducted, but their identities have not been revealed and their families have not been notified. The bodies have also not been returned.
Charges have not been filed on the murderers, nor have been they sent to trial. There has been so much injustice involving these crimes that the least the Ivorian government can do is bring some closure to families. Some of these people could be husbands, wives, aunts, uncles or children. It is not fair that these families remain in the dark. Sign this petition and urge the president to exhume their remains and return the bodies to their rightful family.
Dear President Alassane Ouattara,
There are families in your country who are still wondering about the whereabouts of their loved ones’ resting place. I implore you to conduct a full, unbiased and detailed excavation into their remains at the Nahibly camp. There are 14 people who lie in wells without a tombstone to mark their place, and there are 14 families who don’t know where they are. Six of these bodies have been recovered, but their identities have not been revealed and their remains have not been returned to families. I implore to release this information.
If you had a family member who was shot and killed, whose body was thrown into a well or perhaps a trench, wouldn’t you want to know where he or she is? It is not right to leave these families asking questions, especially when the killers walked away free. Charges and trials have not been conducted; the least you can do for those that are still grieving is give them closure.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: UN Armed Forces via Wikimedia Commons
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