Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Côte d'Ivoire

Publisher Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC)
Publication Date 29 April 2013
Cite as Norwegian Refugee Council/Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (NRC/IDMC), Global Overview 2012: People internally displaced by conflict and violence - Côte d'Ivoire, 29 April 2013, available at: [accessed 21 January 2018]
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.
Number of IDPs40,000 - 80,000
Percentage of total populationUp to 0.4%
Start of displacement situation2002
Peak number of IDPs (year)1,100,000 (2003)
New displacement in 201224,000 reported
Causes of displacementx International armed conflict
✓ Internal armed conflict
x Deliberate policy or practice of arbitrary displacement
✓ Communal violence
x Criminal violence
x Political violence
Human development index168
Kampala ConventionSigned

By the end of 2012, most of the estimated one million people displaced by the fighting and violence that followed the November 2010 presidential elections had managed to return home. They were able to do so largely as a result of significant security improvements in both Abidjan and western regions of the country, which were the worst affected areas.

Between 40,000 and 80,000 people were estimated still to be living in internal displacement, many of them likely staying with host families, renting or squatting, particularly in Abidjan. The lack of a countrywide mechanism for monitoring IDPs means more accurate estimates are not available. It is also still unclear how many people displaced during the 2002 to 2007 internal armed conflict have been able to achieve durable solutions, be it by return, local integration or settlement elsewhere in the country.

Despite improved security conditions in 2012, incidents of violence continued to take place. At least 24,000 people were internally displaced, some of them for a second time, as a result of cross-border armed attacks and inter-communal clashes in the west of the country. The cross-border attacks were allegedly carried out by Ivorian and Liberian mercenaries who backed the former Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo, or disgruntled former Ivorian soldiers based across the border in Liberia.

The main displacement incidents took place in April, when an attack on the town of Sakré forced an estimated 6,320 people to flee their homes, and in mid-June, when as many as 13,000 people were displaced as a result of a series of attacks against villages between Taï and Nigré. Most of those affected were able to return home within a few weeks once calm was restored.

In July, a group of armed men attacked and destroyed most of Nahibly, Côte d'Ivoire's last displacement camp, forcing out the 5,000 people who were still living there. At least eight IDPs were killed in the attack, and the discovery of mass graves near Duékoué in October and November led to fears that further victims would be found. No arrests were made in relation to the assault.

Other violent attacks targeted military and police forces during the second half of the year, particularly near Abidjan. The attacks are not known to have caused any displacements, but they stoked the atmosphere of tension and insecurity which lingered in several parts of the country.

Obstacles to durable solutions were numerous and reflected both the many difficulties IDPs face and the extent of the destruction that took place during the post-electoral crisis of 2010 and 2011. Many homes, schools, health centres and sanitation facilities had yet to be rebuilt or repaired as of the end of 2012. Land disputes remained a major obstacle for returning IDPs trying to rebuild their lives and restore their livelihoods in the west of the country. Many found their land occupied by settlers or illegally leased or sold to other families.

Victims of sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, had access to only limited psychosocial and legal assistance, and impunity for such crimes remained high. Women and girls, many of whom lost their identity documents during their displacement, were vulnerable to abuse, particularly when travelling and passing checkpoints. In the absence of reliable information on those still living in displacement following the 2002 to 2007 conflict, there were indications that a number of IDPs had opted to integrate locally. No details as to their success or otherwise in achieving a durable solution were available.

National authorities and international organisations focused their assistance efforts largely on returns. In January 2012, the Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Solidarity signalled the government's intention to close the remaining displacement camps as soon as possible. By early 2012 most camps had been phased out and those remaining in and around Abidjan closed in March. In the west, Duékoué Catholic mission, where thousands of people had sought refuge during the crisis, closed in July, the same month Nahibly camp was attacked and destroyed.

International humanitarian partners continued their efforts to facilitate IDPs' voluntary return and the restoration of basic services in return areas. A lack of funding, however, has limited the effectiveness of recovery and rehabilitation programmes, despite outstanding needs. Several clusters, which were set up in 2011, began transferring responsibility for coordinating protection and assistance activities to the Ivorian government in 2012. National authorities, however, have only limited capacity in some areas, and as such the handover from the cluster system will continue throughout 2013.

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