Côte d'Ivoire: NGO denounces human rights violations in the run-up to the presidential election - JeuneAfrique.com

The NGO Amnesty International denounces in a report published on February 11 the "impunity" of their authors, as well as impediments to freedom of expression in the run-up to the presidential election of 2020.

Arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, harassment of the opposition, civil society and critical media: as we approach the presidential election of 2020, Amnesty International has made a harsh assessment of the attacks on freedom of expression in Côte d'Ivoire, in a report published the February 11.

« Seven years after the post-election crisis, that cost the lives of 3 000 people, Côte d'Ivoire projects an image of relative stability favored by a [strong] economic growth [...] and by back on the international scene », writes the NGO in this document entitled "The human rights situation remains fragile", in which it nevertheless calls on the Ivorian authorities to "put an end to the arbitrary arrests and acts of harassment" aimed at the divergent voices, and demanded the liberation prisoners of conscience.

"The use of repressive laws to crush the right to freedom of expression results in the arbitrary detention of many citizens," said François Patuel, researcher on West Africa at Amnesty International.

"Arbitrary detentions"

" At least 17 arbitrary detentions of journalists and bloggers over the past five years, and the National Press Council has repeatedly sanctioned their imposing interruptions of publication and heavy fines, "targeting" publications critical of the authorities and relatives of opposition movements, "said the organization.

« Political opponents are also the target of judicial harassment, because they express their opinions, "added the NGO. In late January, the deputy Alain Lobognon was for example "charged with disclosure of false news and incitement to revolt, was sentenced to one year in prison."

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"At least 152 deaths in custody"

In addition, the NGO denounces the ban on "peaceful meetings" regularly "dispersed by the police and gendarmerie, who use excessive force," she notes in her report, citing for example a demonstration of March 2018 whose 40 participants were stopped.

"Human rights defenders are often threatened and their offices regularly robbed," said Amnesty, which identifies cases of torture "including the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST), police stations and gendarmerie" . And is alarmed by "inhumane prison conditions" in the country, noting that "at least 152 deaths in custody have been listed since August 2014," according to his figures.

Only people suspected of supporting Laurent Gbagbo have been tried

Lack of impunity

Amnesty International also denounces the "impunity" enjoyed by perpetrators of human rights violations: "Although President Alassane Ouattara is committed to ensuring fair justice during his term of office, only those suspected of supporting Laurent Gbagbo were tried for serious human rights abuses during and after the [presidential] election of 2010. "

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While "members of the Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire (FRCI), [...] faithful to President Ouattara, have not been brought to justice, although they are suspected of having committed serious human rights abuses, with more than 800 people killed in Duékoué [west] in April 2011 ".

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