Cote d’Ivoire’s Engagement with HRC’s Mechanisms Contribute Positively to the Task of Reconciliation

Human Rights Council 19th Session, Geneva, Switzerland

Madame President,

The United States thanks the Independent Expert on Human Rights Doudou Diene for his work in Cote d’Ivoire. We also would like to acknowledge and thank President Ouattara and the Government of Cote d’Ivoire for their cooperation with the Independent Expert.

Last year, Cote d’Ivoire’s cooperation with the Commission of Inquiry set an important tone. Now, Cote d’Ivoire’s continued engagement with the Council’s mechanisms is allowing the Council to contribute positively to the task of reconciliation. We believe Cote d’Ivoire has been a model for working with the Council in this regard.

The United States has long supported the Ivoirian people. We appreciate the Independent Expert’s focus on human rights during this transition period, and look forward to working with the Ouattara government and the international community to address the concerns raised in the report.

The Independent Expert has highlighted many human rights issues in his report. The sheer number of human right abuses that Cote d’Ivoire must address after more than a decade of conflict is challenging. However, we strongly support the Independent Expert’s observations that the government must make progress in implementing security sector reform as a peacebuilding activity; combat impunity by all parties to the conflict through concerted and coordinated action of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Human Rights, and other investigative and judicial bodies; and build capacity of the judiciary in order to secure the democratic gains for which Cote d’Ivoire has struggled for so long.

In addition, we encourage Cote d’Ivoire to ensure that its national Commission of Inquiry has adequate time and independence to conduct its work, provides sufficient safeguards for witnesses, and has the capacity to conduct robust investigations. We also call on the Independent Expert to support these efforts as appropriate, which are essential to bringing perpetrators on both sides of the conflict to justice and ending the cycle of impunity. Some have expressed concerns that the Commission of Dialogue, Truth, and Reconciliation may not be able to fully address the reconciliation task, and we encourage the government to continue to strengthen this and other institutions, and to take a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach to reconciliation.

Similarly, we support calls to strengthen engagement with civil society, including organizations that represent persons with disabilities, women, LGBT persons, and youth. We welcome the Ivoirian Government’s ongoing active engagement on preventing and prosecuting gender-based violence.

Thank you, Madame President.

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