Press Release on the Deteriorating Situation of Human Rights in Côte d'Ivoire

    The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (African Commission) continues to monitor closely the political and human rights situation in Cote d'Ivoire since the  announcement of the results of the Presidential Election on 28 November 2010.

    The African Commission is seriously concerned about the worsening political crisis and the resurgence of violence in the past few days by clashes between civilians and the  defence and security forces. It is also concerned about incidences of urban guerrilla warfare between militants from both camps across the country which has given rise to the death of several civilians and dozens of military personnel.

    The African Commission is deeply concerned about the resumption of fighting in the west of the country between forces loyal to the outgoing President, Laurent Gbagbo and elements of “Forces Nouvelles”. Such acts constitute a violation of the cease-fire imposed on the warring factions in the wake of the various peace agreements. Such violations endanger human rights, and infringes on the lives and safety of all citizens.

    The African Commission is particularly concerned that the renewed fighting comes immediately after the Mission to Abidjan of the Panel of Five Heads of State mandated by the African Union to find a positive outcome to the political crisis gripping the country.

    The African Commission is also concerned about the humanitarian consequences of massive displacement of people to neighboring states because of the precarious security, especially regarding women, children and representatives of civil society.

    The African Commission strongly condemns the biased and partisan manner in which information is processed, as well as hate speech relayed by the Ivorian media. It urges the Ivorian Radio and Television (RTI) and the Ivory Coast Television (TCI) to show objectivity, restraint and professionalism in information processing.

    The African Commission strongly condemns all attempts intimidation, threats and obstacles intended to hinder the United Nations Operation in Ivory Coast (UNOIC) from fulfilling its mandate, including the protection of civilians.

    The African Commission condemns the excessive use of force against innocent civilians by the military and the armed attacks of the population against the military.

    The African Commission condemns the reinstatement of the curfew and its extension throughout the country.

    The African Commission stresses the need for all the parties concerned to work towards restoring peace and security and for the political actors to respect the
    election results in the best interests of the country.

    The African Commission seizes this opportunity to appeal to all parties involved in the conflict to comply with the principles of international humanitarian law and to respect and protect the human rights of all Ivorian citizens.

    Done in Banjul, The Gambia, 27 February 2011

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      Date: 27 February 2011

      Commissioners: Med S.K. Kaggwa

      Special Mechanism: Special Rapporteur on Prisons and Conditions of Detention

      States: Gambia

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