Cote d'Ivoire

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Persistent violations
  • Female genital mutilation[1]
  • Sexual violence against, and abuse of, children[2]
  • Use of, and conditions in, detention for children[3]
  • Violence in schools[4]
  • Barriers to access to education[5]
  • Children involved in violence or affected by armed conflict[6]
  • Trafficking of children[7]
  • Discrimination against, and inadequate provision for, children with disabilities[8]
  • Child labour[9]
  • Internally displaced children[10]
  • Inadequate health care facilities[11]
  • Children living on the streets[12]

For more details, go here

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Universal Periodic Review
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Universal Periodic Review
  6. Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Universal Periodic Review
  7. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  9. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child< Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Universal Periodic Review
  10. Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced person, Universal Periodic Review
  11. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Representative to the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Universal Periodic Review
  12. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review



Introduction

Situated on the west coast of Africa, Côte d’Ivoire’s recent history is marred by a brief civil war in 2010 following elections which led to the deposing of former President Gbagbo and his indictment before the International Criminal Court. Political instability in the country gave rise to serious and pervasive human rights violations, including the killings of hundreds of people during the post-election clashes and sexual violence against women and children.


Geography

Côte d'Ivoire is situated on the west coast of Africa and shares borders with Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana. The lush forests of the coast give way to savannah in the north, though deforestation has led to the expansion of the savannahs. The capital city is Yamoussoukro.

Population and Language

The country is home to 20 million people, including Akan, Senoufou, Mande/Dioula, Kru and Yacouba peoples within its diverse population. The official language is French,[1] but Baoulé, Bété, Dioula and a variety of other local languages are also widely spoken.

History and Politics

Côte d'Ivoire gained its independence from France in 1960, under the leadership of Felix Houphouët-Boigny who became the first post-independence President, and continued to hold the office for more than three decades. Throughout President Houphouët-Boigny's rule, the country developed into one of the most stable and prosperous in western Africa, though until the 1990 politics was conducted under a single party political system. Democratic reforms took place in 1990 leading to the country's first multi-party elections in which President Houphouët-Boigny retained power, though his term was cut short by his death three years later. In the period that followed national politics splintered and became increasingly characterised by ethnic and geographic divide.

Instability escalated sharply following a coup in 1999 and an attempted coup the following year resulted in the division of the country into the north and south. Laurent Gbago was elected President during this period, though leading opposition figures had been barred from standing for the presidency. The civil war of 2002/3 gave way to a ceasefire in 2003, but violence and instability continued until 2007 when the country was finally re-united. The elections of 2010 again led to violence when Laurent Gbagbo refused to accept the victory of his opponent Alassane Ouattara. Five months of civil conflict ensued before Outtara was sworn in in President.[2]

Economy

The World Bank has characterised Côte d'Ivoire as “the archetypal promising country whose development has been compromised by conflict and insecurity”.[3] The political instability of the last ten years has had a corresponding negative effect on the economy which has undermined the country's position as a regional economic hub. Growth fell into negative figures during 2011 in response to the security situation, though the World Bank reported that the fall was less than anticipated and attributed this to budget support from France, the African Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Industrial production has returned to around 95 per cent of pre-crisis levels.[4]

The country is the world's largest producer of cocoa, an industry which supplies 40 per cent of the global supply, accounts for a third of export earnings and employs as many as 7 million people in some capacity. The cocoa industry has been criticised, however, for the widespread practice of child labour.[5]

Media and Civil Society

Reporters Without Borders rated the country 159 out of 179 in its Press Freedom Index 2011/12, a ranking which recognises the serious problems facing media operating in the country. Throughout 2011, a number of journalists were arrested for their links to the former Gbagbo regime or for articles critical of the new authorities including three journalists and the editor from the Notre Voie newspaper in 2011.[6] Arrests of media figures continued during 2012, including those on the basis of “endangering state security”,[7] as has the failure to address alleged offences of the past, including the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Franco-Canadian journalist Guy-André Kieffer that began more than eight years ago.[8]

Human Rights and Children's Rights

The instability in Côte d'Ivoire has given rise to serious and pervasive human rights violations over the last decade committed on all sides of the conflict. During the post-election violence of 2010 and 2011, hundreds of people were killed on the grounds of ethnicity or presumed political affiliation, while women and adolescents were frequently victims of sexual violence, including rape.[9] During March and April of 2011, hundreds of summary executions of men and boys were carried out in the town of Duékoué and the surrounding villages.[10]

The International Criminal Court initially launched an investigation into the post-election violence, and has begun proceedings against former President Gbagbo for his role in committing murder, sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts,[11] Investigations have since been extended to cover the period since September 2002 in response to the initial Pre-Trial session so that crimes allegedly committed during the civil war could be considered, a step that could give rise to charges related to the recruitment of children to be used as soldiers.[12]

Footnotes:

  1. The Constitution of Côte d'Ivoire, Article 29
  2. BBC, "Ivory Coast: Alassane Ouattara sworn in as President" 6 May 2011
  3. The World Bank, Côte d'Ivoire Overview"
  4. The World Bank, "Côte d'Ivoire Homepage"
  5. Schrage and Ewing, "The Cocoa Industry and Child Labour" JCC 18, Summer 2005
  6. Reporters Without Borders, "Three Notre Voie journalists found not guilty" 6 December 2011
  7. Reporters Without Borders, "Newspaper owner arrested for 'endangering state security'" 29 March 2012
  8. Reporters Without Borders, "President tells missing journalist's wife no one will be protected in investigation" 19 April 2012
  9. Amnesty International, "World Report 2012: The state of the world's human rights"
  10. Human Rights Watch, "Côte d'Ivoire: Ouattara forces kill, rape civilians during offensive" 9 April 2011
  11. International Criminal Court, The Prosecutor v. Laurent Gbagbo, ICC-02/11-01/11
  12. International Criminal Court, "Côte d'Ivoire: the ICC Judges expand the scope of the investigations to the 2002-2010 period" 23 February 2012

Sources:

Quick Facts

  • Population: 20,594,600 (UNDP, 2012)
  • Population under 18: 9,539,000 (UNICEF, 2011)
  • Number of internet users: 968,000 (2.5% of the population) (Internet World Stats, 2011)
  • Human Development Index ranking: 168 (UNDP, 2012)