Côte d'Ivoire: NGO mission works to strengthen cooperation in protection of human rights defenders

03.09.2015

The emerging role of Côte d’Ivoire in the protection of human rights defenders was the focus of discussions between civil society and Ivorian authorities this week. 

Image of woman holding Côte d'Ivoire flag

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(Abidjan) – The emerging role of Côte d’Ivoire in the protection of human rights defenders was the focus of discussions between civil society and Ivorian authorities this week.

The discussions were part of an advocacy mission to Côte d’Ivoire, by a delegation from Front Line Defenders and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), in partnership with the Ivorian Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (CIDDH). It took place from 31 August to 3 September.

Front Line Defenders and ISHR congratulated the Ivorian authorities on the adoption of the Law on the promotion and protection of human rights defenders in June 2014 (Law no. 2014-388, 20 June 2014).

‘Côte d'Ivoire was the first country in Africa to adopt such a law, and in taking this initiative it has demonstrated its commitment to protecting and promoting the rights of human rights defenders,’ said Mary Lawlor, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders.

The delegation met with representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Public Freedoms, the Ministry of State, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDHCI). They also met with representatives of non-governmental human rights organisations.

‘It is important for Côte d'Ivoire to take concrete measures for the effective implementation of the human rights defender law at the domestic level, but also to integrate the protection of human rights defenders in its foreign policy,’ said Clement Voulé, ISHR’s Africa Programme Director.

The NGO delegation made ​​concrete proposals to the Ivorian authorities to play a prominent role both regionally and internationally on the protection of human rights defenders. These included the need for the State to share best practices with other countries and to encourage other States to adopt similar legislation; to respond publicly when human rights defenders come under attack in other countries; and to make recommendations on the situation of human rights defenders, through the Universal Periodic Review and similar regional mechanisms, in countries where activists are put at risk.

‘It is important that Côte d'Ivoire supports the work of the international mechanisms mandated to protect human rights defenders, such as the Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders of both the United Nations and African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights,’ said Martha Pedan Coulibaly, National Coordinator of CIDDH.

The NGO delegation will now travel to Benin and Senegal where it will encourage these countries to actively cooperate with Côte d'Ivoire in the protection of human rights defenders.

Contact: Clément Voulé, ISHR: c.voule@ishr.ch

Category:

Region
  • Africa
Topic
  • Human rights defenders
Mechanism
  • National HRDs laws/policies
Country
  • Ivory Coast