Human Rights Council
Agenda item 10
Technical assistance and capacity-building
The present report is based on two visits by the independent expert to Côte d’Ivoire, from 14 to 25 November and from 7 to 13 December 2011, and is intended to give an overview of the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire and related institutional issues as of 26 December 2011.
Since President Alassane Ouattara was sworn into office, the security situation has gradually improved. Nevertheless Côte d’Ivoire has been traumatized by the many crises it has suffered in the past decade and is still recovering.
In this context, the holding on 11 December 2011 of legislative elections judged by all observers to have been well organized from a technical point of view, despite the polarization stemming from the handing over of former president Laurent Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court on 30 November 2011 and the boycott of the elections by his party, was an important step in the country’s return to normal. Yet many challenges remain. Some are linked to deep-rooted causes that pre-date the post-election crisis, including the link between access to land and tensions between communities, especially in the country’s western part.
The challenges include, among others, restoring security throughout the country and along its borders, reforming the security sector, restoring the rule of law and justice, combating impunity, promoting reconciliation, strengthening social cohesion and the ability to live together, restoring the State’s sovereignty and re-establishing its services countrywide, reviving the economy, reducing poverty, and ensuring the protection/return/reintegration of displaced and refugee populations.
In this context the independent expert also wishes to highlight the most significant human rights violations brought to his attention, such as violations of the right to life, acts of torture, degrading and inhuman treatment, arbitrary arrests, rapes, violations of freedom of expression, racketeering and extortion, attacks and violent acts against religious buildings and leaders, and violations of the right to education, health and food. Intercommunity tensions persist in the country’s western part and require swift steps by the Government to facilitate peaceful coexistence among communities and prevent intercommunity violence, which often results in serious human rights violations.
Most human rights violations result less from the State’s complicity than from its failure to prevent them, especially because of the difficulty of reforming the security sector and re-establishing the Government’s authority over the country’s entire territory.
Combating impunity must remain a priority in order to break the vicious circle perpetuated by the repetition of human rights violations in the country since 1999. The current transitional justice processes, including the work of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, must tackle the underlying causes of the crisis and focus on the victims of human rights violations, respecting their right to receive reparation and not to be subjected to renewed human rights violations.
The impartiality and independence of transitional judicial and non-judicial justice mechanisms must be preserved. In this connection, it is vital to prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations regardless of their political, tribal, regional or religious affiliations.
The deeply rooted culture of coexistence developed over time by the Ivorian people as a whole and based on its rich ethnic, cultural and religious diversity must be strengthened and nourished by respect for human rights and the principles and rules of democracy.