At the prompting of ACAT Switzerland, the whole ACAT network will focus its Good Friday campaign on Côte d’Ivoire. A country which used to be considered a model in Africa for its economic and social development and for the peace it enjoyed, Côte d’Ivoire suffered a severe setback in 2000.
When President Laurent Gbagbo came to power, a rebellion broke out in the North. The tension continued into 2010, when there was a presidential election won by the candidate from the North, Alassane Ouattara of the Republican Forces of Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI). The conflict between the two camps became, if anything, more bitter, with the outgoing president, Laurent Gbagbo, refusing to accept the election result.
Since the latter’s arrest in April 2011, there has been very little improvement in the situation. Members of the armed forces and the pro-Ouattara militia have been responsible for thousands of abuses. Arbitrary arrest, torture to force a confession, torture in detention, extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances have become everyday occurrences for the civilian population over the past 14 years.
Through this campaign, ACAT hopes to persuade the authorities to face up to the undertakings they have given, in particular when they signed the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights. Among other demands, we shall urge the president of Côte d’Ivoire to define torture and to make it a crime in Ivorian criminal legislation and to prosecute those who commit acts of torture.
ACAT-Côte d’Ivoire and FIACAT have worked together on this campaign. They have recently submitted a report to the Ivorian government on implementation of the Charter, and ACAT Switzerland was keen to support this action via its Good Friday campaign, which will be extended to the ACAT international network.
We thank you in advance for taking part in the campaign.