Press Release on Recent Human Rights Violations in Cote d'Ivoire

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) expresses its grave concern about the massive human rights violations that have occurred in Cote d’Ivoire in the aftermath of the Presidential elections of 28 November 2010.

    The African Commission regrets that these massive violations of human rights increased from 15 December 2010 following the announcement of popular demonstrations by the Rassemblement Houphouetistes pour la Democratie et la Paix (RHDP), aimed at taking control of the National Television.

    The African Commission also wishes to express its deep concern about the daily night-time kidnappings to which supporters of the President-elect Alassane Ouattara have been victims of. The African Commission is concerned that these kidnappings apparently take place at night at a time when a night time curfew is in force. It is equally concerned about allegations that the kidnappings are being done by unidentified armed men in military fatigues, who allegedly belong to a government backed militia and by the Defence and Security forces, loyal to defeated Presidential candidate, Laurent Gbagbo.

    The African Commission is alarmed that concurrent information indicate that people forcefully kidnapped, are taken to unidentified and probably illegal places of detention where they are held incommunicado and without any charges proffered against them. The African Commission has also received credible information that many arrested persons have been found dead under very suspicious circumstances.

    The African Commission remains very concerned that within the last few days, the over fifty (50) people killed and the more than two hundred (200) wounded have been innocent victims of the prevailing crisis in Cote d’Ivoire. It is even more concerned by recurrent information pointing to the discovery of mass graves in certain areas of the Ivorian economic capital, Abidjan.

    The African Commission also wishes to strongly condemn the use of mercenaries to provoke and brutalize the civilian population. It equally deplores the deteriorating security situation in the country as well as restrictions on the freedom of movement of the personnel of the United Nations, which has made it difficult to investigate the massive human rights violations that have been noted.

    The African Commission welcomes the recent sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States on Mr. Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters. It equally welcomes the Security Council Resolution extending the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Cote d’Ivoire for another six months.
    The African Commission seizes this opportunity to make an Urgent Appeal to all the parties concerned that they must observe and respect very strictly the human rights of all persons living within the Ivorian territory without exception.

    Banjul, 20 December 2010


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      Date: 20 December 2010

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