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Testimony at the UN

UN Watch Statement
ID with the IE on Cote d’Ivoire
UNCHR, 29th Session

Delivered by Faye Schachter

Thank you, Mr. President.

UN Watch thanks the Independent Expert for his report on the situation of human rights in Cote d’Ivoire. We continue to be concerned about the lack of effective protection of human rights defenders, of accountability among security forces, and of impartial justice.

UN Watch notes with apprehension the absence of investigations regarding intimidation tactics used against human rights defenders as well as the attacks levied against them. We urge the Ivorian authorities to ensure the effective implementation of the human rights defender law adopted last June, in order to promote an enabling environment for human rights defenders and prosecute those who violate their right to free expression.

Members of the security forces continue to be implicated in serious human rights violations. Widespread criminality, including corruption, torture, extrajudicial killings, rape and extortion are a continuing concern. Many commanders are implicated, and yet continue to hold official positions of responsibility, in a context of total impunity.

UN Watch is also critical of the lack of accountability for crimes during the 2010-2011 post-election period, with minimal progress in pursuing impartial and timely justice. Since that time, progress towards justice has been largely one sided. While Ivorian authorities have charged more than 150 pro-Gbagbo civilian and military leaders for abuses committed during the turmoil, not one member of Ouattara’s forces has been prosecuted. The failure to arrest any pro-Ouattara forces implicated in post-election violence is undermining hopes for meaningful and lasting reconciliation.

Mr. President, the noble aim of protecting human rights should not be used as a pretext for advancing a particular political agenda. Human rights violators, no matter their social or political affiliations, must be promptly prosecuted. Justice for victims is long overdue, and tackling impunity plays a fundamental role in breaking the cycle of violence and restoring security in Cote d’Ivoire. For peace to be sustainable, the Ivorian government must prioritize equitable justice and reconciliation, especially ahead of presidential elections later this year.

Thank you, Mr. President.


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