Côte d’Ivoire: HRC should continue to support, push and monitor progress

30.06.2016

The Human Rights Council should adopt a resolution that renews the mandate of the independent expert on Côte d’Ivoire and sets out benchmarks to assess progress in the country, ISHR has told the UN’s peak human rights body.

Update (1 July 2016)  The Council has agreed to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on Côte d’Ivoire, but with a troubling ‘sunset clause’. The resolution explicitly says that the mandate was extend for the final time, without setting clear benchmarks to measure the success of the mandate in one years’ time, or whether the country needs further assistance to protect rights. 

(Geneva) – The Human Rights Council should adopt a resolution that renews the mandate of the independent expert on Côte d’Ivoire and sets out benchmarks to assess progress in the country, ISHR has told the UN’s peak human rights body.

The government of Côte d’Ivoire, represented by the Minister of Human Rights Ms Paulette Bajo, told the Council on Tuesday that it will accept the draft resolution tabled by the Africa Group to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on Côte d’Ivoire for one more year.

‘We welcome the delegation’s willingness to extend the mandate of the independent expert,’ said Mr Clément Voule, ISHR’s African Advocacy Director.

‘We consider, however, that the draft resolution should be strengthened to better promote and assess human rights progress in the country,’ Mr Voule said.

ISHR urges Member States to ensure that the resolution sets clear benchmarks, including as to:

  • the enactment of a decree to effectively operationalise the country’s human rights defender law which was enacted in 2014;
  • the establishment and adequate resourcing of a protection mechanism established under the human rights defender law;
  • reform of the national human rights institution to ensure that it fully complies with the Paris Principles; and
  • strengthened constitutional recognition and protection of human rights, especially within the context of the current constitution review process, which should be inclusive of civil society.

Consistently with ISHR’s position, the Council’s independent expert on Côte d’Ivoire, Mohammed Ayatt, stressed that the process for constitutional reform must be consultative, enabling the participation of human rights defenders and other civil society actors.

During an interactive dialogue in the Council with the Independent Expert, France and Morocco also called for the strengthening of the national human rights institution, while States such as South Africa, Australia and Belgium encouraged the government to continue its fight against impunity and to strengthen the judicial system. These calls are timely and echo ISHR’s previous calls in this regard.

In his presentation, Mr Ayatt highlighted significant developments and commendable progress in the political and economic life in Côte d’Ivoire. The statements given by France, the US, the EU, Morocco, Benin, Senegal, Togo, Ghana and others welcomed these positive human rights developments.

While acknowledging the hurdles Côte d’Ivoire has overcome, the Minister of Human Rights explained that Cote d’Ivoire had now resumed its rightful place in the international community.

‘We will continue to cooperate with the international human rights mechanisms and to this end the country is working to further enhance its collaborative efforts with treaty bodies and special procedures. This is exemplified by Cote d’Ivoire’s current adoption process of the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture,’ explained the Minister.

The draft resolution extending the mandate of the independent expert will be considered by the Human Rights Council during the 32nd session’s decisions and conclusions this week.

ISHR reiterates Togo’s call for States to support the resolution tabled by the Africa Group to extend the independent expert’s mandate but urges that the resolution be strengthened to include clear benchmarks to monitor and assess human rights progress.

Read ISHR’s statement here or watch a video of the statement here (Eng) and here (Fr).

Contact: Clément Voule, ISHR African Advocacy Director, at c.voule@ishr.ch

Category:

Region
  • Africa
Topic
  • Human rights defenders
Mechanism
  • Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Human Rights Council
Country
  • Ivory Coast