Côte d’Ivoire: “Victims of the post electoral crisis should not be forgotten” – UN human rights expert

GENEVA/ABIDJAN (24 October 2013) – “Victims of the post electoral crisis should not be forgotten,” United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire, Doudou Diène, said today, at the end of his latest visit to the country to follow up in the implementation of his previous recommendations* and those of other United Nations bodies.

“The return to the political race, two years before the presidential elections, should not hide the situation of the victims of the post electoral crisis,” Mr Diène stressed. “Their situation is at the core of the implementation of justice, reparation and the reconstruction of democracy in the country.”

“Progress made in the democratic and institutional reconstruction, the improvement of the security situation and the reconstruction of the Ivorian justice should be consolidated,” the Independent Expert said. “This progress should be reinforced by the promotion of an inclusive pluralism, a vigorous fight against impunity, the promotion of the equity in the judiciary and the improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the population.”

Concerning the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Mr Diène expressed hopes that the mid-term report of this institution will facilitate the renewal of its mandate, and will enable it to achieve more dynamic steps in the fulfillment of its mission, in particular in the quest of truth and the conditions for reconciliation.

At this particular context where the Ivorian State claims its jurisdictional primacy to judge on its soil people prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Independent Expert noted that “the same guarantees of independence and impartiality required for the ICC regarding the ongoing proceedings, are the same requested to the Ivorian justice”.

The human rights expert met political parties including the Secretary General of the Rassemblement des Républicains (RDR), Amadou Soumahoro, the President of the Front Populaire Ivorien FPI, Pascal Affi Nguessan, who was conditionally released amongst other detainees.

“The conditional release of post electoral crisis detainees constitutes a good momentum to facilitate the re-launching of the political dialogue,” Mr. Diène noted. “This measure requests that the political actors in Côte d’Ivoire take their responsibility through their speech and their acts by reinforcing conditions of the dialogue in the interest of the Ivorian people.” The Independent Expert deplored that this dimension is not taken into account by the concerned actors.

During his ten-day visit, the expert met high-level officials, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Human Rights, and the Minister of Defense. He also met the President of the Constitutional Court, the 1st Vice- President of the National Assembly, members of the judiciary, the President of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Coordinator of the National Programme of Social Cohesion, the Authority for Demobilization, Disarmament and Reinsertion, the diplomatic Corps, UN agencies, civil society organizations, the National Human Rights Commission, and political parties. He also visited detention centers through the country and Ms. Simone Gbagbo in Odiénné.

The Independent Expert will present a comprehensive report on the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, at the 25th session in 2014.

The mandate of the Independent Expert was established by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 for a period of one year to assist the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and relevant actors in the follow-up of the recommendations of the International Commission of Inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire and the Human Rights Council, including the ones addressed to the international community. As Independent Expert, Mr. Doudou Diène acts independently from any Government or organization. He was previously the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in 2002-08.

(*) Check the Independent Expert’s latest report on Côte d’Ivoire: http://daccess-ods.un.org/access.nsf/Get?Open&DS=A/HRC/19/72&Lang=E

OHCHR Country page – Cote d’Ivoire: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CIIndex.aspx

For additional information and media requests, please contact Johel Dominique (+41794444828 / jdominique@ohchr.org) or write to EICotedivoire@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

UN Human Rights, follow us on social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unitednationshumanrights
Twitter: http://twitter.com/UNrightswire
Google+ gplus.to/unitednationshumanrights
Storify: http://storify.com/UNrightswire

Watch “20 years of human rights - the road ahead”: http://youtu.be/yW7s-Q8S14E