Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May 2016, 12:25 GMT

Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Côte d'Ivoire

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 23 March 2011
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Côte d'Ivoire, 23 March 2011, available at: [accessed 1 June 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Quick facts
Number of IDPsUndetermined
Percentage of total populationUndetermined
Start of current displacement situation2002
Peak number of IDPs (Year)1,100,000 (2003)
New displacementAt least 2,700
Causes of displacementArmed conflict, generalised violence, human rights violations
Human development index149

Reliable and up-to-date data on the number of people displaced in Côte d'Ivoire remained scarce in 2010, as a large number of the people internally displaced as a result of the civil war that ran between 2002 and 2007 had sought refuge with friends and family. Mechanisms to monitor their situation were only set up in the western regions of Moyen Cavally and Dix-huit Montagnes. In June 2010, UNCHR estimated that almost 520,000 people remained internally displaced, of whom 52 per cent were women and girls.

Up until November, localised communal conflicts had been the main causes of internal displacement in the country in 2010. However, violent clashes followed the second round of voting in the Ivorian presidential election at the end of November, after both the candidates, incumbent president Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara, claimed victory. The violence caused new displacement within and from the country. On 30 December, OCHA estimated that almost 1,600 people had been newly displaced in Duekoué in Moyen Cavally, and almost 1,200 in Danané (Dix-huit Montagnes). OCHA also estimated that more than 16,500 people had fled the country. There was no further information available on the patterns of internal displacement or the number of people displaced in the rest of the country.

During 2010, the majority of IDPs who returned to their places of origin or habitual residence did so mostly without support, as humanitarian and government agencies organised returns and distributed aid packages on an ad-hoc basis. According to UN sources, close to 90,000 IDPs made their way home between 2007 and mid-2010. The peaceful return of IDPs and their inclusion into local decision-making processes was facilitated by peace committees in some villages. However, land conflicts, rampant criminality, human rights abuses and the prevalent impunity of their perpetrators all remained considerable obstacles to the sustainability of returns.

Land disputes between migrants (originating from other regions of Côte d'Ivoire or from other West African countries) and Ivorians considered native to communities in western regions were among the triggers to the conflict, with natives contesting migrants' right to land. In many cases, while people were displaced, the plots they had planted were either sold or leased by others. As IDPs returned in 2010, land disputes multiplied over the customary rights to the land.

In the absence of a restitution or compensation process, the 1998 Rural Land Law has been the only statutory framework for resolving land disputes. The law was designed to clarify customary rights over land and transform them into formal property rights. However, there was still very little awareness of the law in 2010, and it was seldom implemented. In order to promote consistent practice in preventing and settling land disputes, humanitarian agencies and national institutions set up a local mechanism in Moyen Cavally through which they could share problems and find coordinated solutions.

In 2010, the government continued to call for the return of all IDPs to their original homes. Yet the Ministry of Reconstruction and Reinsertion, which had been supporting IDP return movements in the course of 2009, was abolished in a government reshuffle in February 2010. In the same reshuffle, the IDP focal point role was passed from the Ministry of Solidarity and War Victims to the new National Secretariat for Solidarity and War Victims, further delaying the finalisation of a national legal framework upholding the rights of IDPs as well as the ratification of the Kampala Convention.

At the beginning of 2010, Côte d'Ivoire's humanitarian emergency appeared to have ended, and so international agencies started to shift their focus towards development activities. No humanitarian appeal was launched for 2010, and Côte d'Ivoire was not among the countries to benefit from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2010. OCHA's activities were also substantially reduced.

By the end of the year, however, as the humanitarian situation deteriorated as a result of the post-election violence, the international community made changes to the 2011 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) for West Africa, which had been launched in November. The updated UN contingency plan envisaged that two million people could be affected by the post-election violence and up to 450,000 internally displaced in 2011.

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