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Report of the HC on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire

June 2011

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Summary - A/HRC/17/49

The present report provides an update on the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire since the last report presented by the High Commissioner to the sixteenth session of the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/16/79) and covers events from 1 February to 30 May 2011.

The report is submitted pursuant to resolution 16/25 of the Human Rights Council requesting the High Commissioner to present a report on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire at its seventeenth session.

Although direct attacks against civilians by the security forces have abated somewhat since the arrest of former president Laurent Gbagbo on 11 April 2011, the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire remains precarious, with a pattern of human rights violations, including summary executions, excessive use of force, enforced disappearances, rape, torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and looting. In addition, the health, agriculture and education sectors and the economy as a whole were severely affected by the post-electoral crisis, leading to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation.

The western part of the country, where some of the worst human rights violations and destruction took place, has been of particular concern. The political stalemate brought to the surface past grievances which contributed towards inter-community conflicts between the pro-Gbagbo ethnic groups in the region and settler communities, including Ivorians from the north and immigrants from neighbouring countries. In addition, the armed confrontations between the Forces Nouvelles and the security forces loyal to Mr. Gbagbo escalated as the pro-Ouattara forces moved towards Abidjan and resulted in a major humanitarian crisis with serious human rights implications. Given the resulting insecurity and recent violence, as well as the fear of reprisals, Côte d’Ivoire could face a continued displacement situation.

On 17 March, President Ouattara signed a decree creating a new army, the Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI), which merged the Forces Nouvelles (FN) and the Forces de Défense et de Sécurité (FDS). While the presence of the FRCI has to some degree contributed to the stabilization of the security situation, there is still a security vacuum due to the fact that many members of the police and the gendarmerie had abandoned their posts in a number of areas in the west and in Abidjan and many police stations were looted and destroyed. Moreover, the arrival of the FRCI in most areas in the west and south has also coincided with acts of looting, extortion, confiscation of private property, arbitrary arrest and detention as well as summary executions, all implicating members of the FRCI.

The ongoing processes, both nationally and internationally, to address the issue of impunity, will be essential in ensuring justice and reconciliation in Côte d’Ivoire. The Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission announced by President Ouattara since his campaign may play a significant role in this regard.

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