HRC 42 | Côte d’Ivoire must ensure the independence of the defenders’ protection mechanism


As a pioneer in Africa regarding the adoption of a national protection law for defenders, it is now time for Côte d’Ivoire to ensure this law is fully implemented. The establishment of a protection mechanism would be a first step in guaranteeing just that.

On 19 September the Human Rights Council adopted the UPR report of Côte d’Ivoire. During this session, ISHR delivered a statement calling on the State to guarantee the protection mechanism is inclusive, independent and takes into consideration the protection of women human rights defenders in its attribution.

It is important to note that since its last review, Côte d’Ivoire has taken important steps in order to guarantee the protection of defenders in the country. First, in 2017 by adopting the implementation decree for the defenders’ law adopted in 2014 and more recently by starting the process of establishing the protection mechanism which will ensure full effect is given to the law.

‘ISHR remains concerned by the provisions of articles 197, 198 and 199 of the new Criminal Code providing for criminal sanctions against authors and participants in undeclared and prohibited events. These articles are in contradiction with Article 3 of the defenders’ protection law, which guarantees freedom of demonstration and assembly. ISHR calls on the government to repeal them’ said Marthe Pedan Coulibaly, National Coordinator of the Ivorian Coalition on Human Rights Defenders.

Finally, ISHR highlighted the low representation of women in decision-making bodies.  Indeed, among 42 ministers only 5 are women.

During the UPR review, ISHR further called on Côte d’Ivoire to:

  • Establish a permanent national organ, composed of government officials, civil society actors and members of the National Council of Human Rights, to monitor the implementation of UPR and treaty bodies recommendations;
  • Adopt a law guaranteeing a better representation of women in decision-making bodies.

Watch the statement here (English version): 


Watch the statement in French here: 


Contact: Adélaïde Etong Kame, Africa Advocacy Consultant,

Photo: Commons Wikipedia