Cees Wittebrood - Head of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific unit of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO)
Mike McGovern - Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Yale University and former West Africa Project Director of the International Crisis Group
Simon Levine – Research Fellow, Humanitarian Policy Group
Sara Pantuliano – Head, Humanitarian Policy Group
The conflict in Côte d’Ivoire sparked by November’s disputed presidential election has seen a shift in the way the international community engages with the country, from development cooperation to humanitarian assistance. In mid-March, forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised president, mounted a military offensive to take territory from forces loyal to former president Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to step down. Estimates indicate that around 1,300 people lost their lives in the conflict, with atrocities reported on both sides including targeted killings, disappearances, politically motivated rapes and the unlawful use of lethal force against unarmed demonstrators. A million Ivorians are thought to be displaced.
Laurent Gbagbo’s eventual removal from power on 11th April has not removed the need for humanitarian action in Côte d'Ivoire. This public event will reflect upon the Côte d’Ivoire crisis, its historical context and, with competition for media attention from the emergencies in Libya and Japan, the ongoing response of the international community.