As immigrants from West Africa, especially the Ivory Coast, we have witnessed many wars around our country. In fact, from 1964 to 1998, many African countries such as Liberia, Burkina, Faso and Ghana have experienced civil wars. The lack of respect for the country's constitution by political leaders is the main reason that these wars have occurred. The recent civil war in my country the Ivory Coast is a prime example. Government members who made a mistake caused the Civil war stated on September 19, 2002 and lasted seven months. This mistake was made by the current regime when it decided to dismiss some of its soldiers from it's military, it is not known why the government made this decision.
The mere rumor of the dismissals induced an uprising of 750-800 soldiers angry for being suspected of disloyalty by the current government, resulting in the worst crises since the country's first ever coup in 1999. Very often in Africa, when the army is split soldiers of both sides have no respect for civilians or their oath to protect them. The following example will fully explain this statement. During the recent civil war in the Ivory Coast rebels walked into a city called Bourke, gunfire could be heard throughout the city despite little to no resistance by government troops, for reference purposes this city is just 220 miles north of Abidjan the commercial capital of the Ivory Coast. There was an American school that was caught in the crossfire; this school was home to about 200 foreign nationals most of whom were Americans.
No one was targeting the school but, neither the administrators nor the children felt safe due to the proximity of the firing. In at least on instance several rebels climbed the wall surrounding the missionary school. As a result of these events it was decided by the American government to evacuate the school. In an operation that took less than three hours the American military evacuated all of the foreign nationals at the school who wanted to leave from the country. Those who chose to stay suffered greatly besides general mistreatment by the rebels (many of whom were former soldiers) many of them were raped and or killed.
It is in light of such cruel action by soldiers that we are raising the question: is there any relation between Africa's soldiers and the Geneva Accords? In the following lines we will be answering that question and in the process describing what the meaning of the Geneva Accords is. African people must and should realize that the concept of world globalization makes them part of the international community. As part of the world community they must accept the Geneva Convention for the fair treatment of civilians and prisoners of war, just as other members of the world community do. The Geneva Convention was written in 1949 partly in response to World War II atrocities.
In fact, the convention spells out rules for the ethical treatment of the wounded and ill soldiers and sailors at battle (The first and second convention). Prisoners of war (the third) and civilians (the fourth) are located within the third and the fourth. The main reason, or basic idea behind it is that, those in wartime who can not or do not pick up a weapon must be treated with humanity. Not only do the combatants have an obligation not to hurt civilians, prisoners of war and wounded fighters, but in many cases they must also offer assistance. Unfortunately in Africa, that is not always the case. For instance, in Rwanda and Somalia, prisoners were denied all basic rights defended in the Geneva accords.
Rebels are eager to rape women and kill men even when those are without weapons. In regards to what is stated above, it is a strong belief that African nations need to learn how to apply the conventions of Geneva to their prisoners. Most importantly, countries such as the U. S. A and U.
K. should send their commander to Africa in order to teach then the aim of the Geneva Convention. For the lack of knowledge of these Geneva accords on wartime in Africa lead to the violation of its cornerstone: respect of prisoners. Bibliography Chil man, John.
French Military Policy and African Security. London: International Institute for Strategic Studies. 1975 Abidjan. net. French African Political Website.