A delegation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) undertook a human rights promotion mission in Côte d’Ivoire from 26 September to 4 October 2016. The Delegation was composed of:
- Honourable Commissioner Kayitesi Zainabo Sylvie, Commissioner responsible for human rights promotion in Côte d’Ivoire and Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty and Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Killings in Africa (Head of Delegation); and
- Honourable Commissioner Jamesina Essie L. King, Chairperson of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
The mission was undertaken in accordance with Article 45(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter), and the objectives were to promote the African Charter and other regional and international human rights legal instruments, as well as strengthen relations between the Commission and the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire in the area of human rights promotion and protection.
During the mission, the delegation met with members of government, including the Minister of Human Rights and Public Liberties, the Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, the Minister of Employment and Social Protection, the Minister for Women’s Affairs and Child Protection, as well as the Directors of Cabinet of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Solidarity and Social Cohesion, Ministry of Youth Empowerment and Employment, and Ministry of Industry and Mines.
The delegation also met with the Vice-Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission and members of the Bureau, the President of the Committee on General and Institutional Affairs of the National Assembly, the Inspector-General of the Judicial and Penitentiary Services, the President of the Bar Association, the Ombudsman, and the President and members of the Economic and Social Council.
The delegation held a meeting with the African Union Representative and discussed the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire.
The delegation held working sessions with representatives of UNOCI and UNHCR on the general human rights situation in the country during and after the electoral crisis and on the situation of refugees, stateless persons and internally displaced persons.
A meeting was also held with representatives of the media and civil society organisations.
The delegation visited the Abidjan prison (MACA) and held discussions with the prison officials and the detainees.
During the various meetings, the Commission’s delegation received information on developments in the area of human rights and on the general human rights situation in Cote d’Ivoire.
The delegation notes with satisfaction the significant achievements recorded in the area of human rights promotion, particularly concerning the ratification of most of the relevant regional and international human rights instruments, the establishment of a Ministry of Human Rights and Public liberties, as well as the establishment of human rights protection institutions such as the National Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman.
The delegation further notes the efforts made to implement social and economic rights, especially in the areas of health, employment and social protection.
The delegation also welcomes the measures, policies and programmes implemented with regard to social cohesion, the promotion and strengthening of the rights of women, and mainly regarding women’s empowerment and the eradication of harmful practices. The delegation further welcomes the creation of enabling environment for job creation and employment opportunities, in particular for the youth, and the promotion of a human rights culture amongst the population.
The delegation, however, noted several challenges, including the following:
- Low level of women’s representation in the National Assembly and in other institutions;
- Overcrowding in the Abidjan prison, inadequate programmes for the reintegration of prisoners, especially for minors, lack of modern equipment and inadequate materials for the various training programmes for prisoners;
- Long period of pre-trial detention for detainees in prisons;
- Inadequate measures to find lasting solutions to the problem of statelessness, in particular for children and “historical” foreigners;
- Meeting the needs of political detainees, in particular, regarding their rights as detainees and expediting their trials before a court of law;
- The issue of the criminal justice system and the need to find lasting solutions, especially regarding judicial practices and procedures in order to speed up investigations and trial, and the provision of legal aid which is currently not sufficiently operational.
Following the conduct of the promotion mission, the delegation would like to express its appreciation to the highest authorities of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire for the achievements made in promoting and protecting human rights, and for the commitment in implementing the rights guaranteed by the African Charter and other human rights instruments ratified by the country.
The delegation particularly appreciates the efforts made by the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire in finding lasting solutions to the problems arising from the post electoral crisis and calls on the regional and international community to lend support to the efforts of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.
A detailed mission report containing the Commission’s recommendations will be prepared and sent to the Government of Côte d’Ivoire.
The delegation expresses its gratitude to the authorities of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire for the measures taken to ensure the smooth conduct of the mission, and commends the cooperation and openness of all the persons met during the mission.
Abidjan, 4 October 2016