Useful Information


UN Human Rights Report 2019 UN Human Rights Report 2019
OHCHR Management Plan 2018-2021 OHCHR Management Plan 2018-2021
Brochure: Human Rights in action Human Rights in Action (PDF)
Working with the United Nations Human Rights Programme: A Handbook for Civil Society A Handbook for Civil Society (PDF)

OHCHR in Côte d'Ivoire (2010-2011)

Human Rights Context

The non-respect by Côte d’Ivoire of some fundamental human rights norms and principles pertaining notably to equality and non-discrimination, the right to a nationality plunged the country into an armed conflict. The crisis kick-started on 19 September 2002 by an armed rebellion which resulted in grave violations and in the de facto division of the country into two zones: the north, controlled by the Forces nouvelles, led by Guillaume Kigbafori Soro, and the south by the legitimate government of President Gbagbo. After several unsuccessful peace deals, the signing of the Ouagadougou Political Agreement on 4 March 2007 by the conflicting parties defused the tension, thus fostering an appeased political climate conducive to the organization of elections.

The presidential election postponed for at least five times was finally held on 31 October 2010 for the first round and 28 November 2010 for the second round respectively. While the first round took place without major incident, the second round that opposed outgoing president Laurent Gbagbo of La Majorité Présidentielle (LMP) and Alassane Ouattara, supported by the Rassemblement des Houphouëtistes pour la Démocratie et la Paix (RHDP), was marked by a radicalization of political statements which had severe consequences on the respect of human rights. Furthermore, the refusal by Laurent Gbagbo to accept the results of the elections led to the establishment of two parallel governments by Gbagbo and Ouattara. This situation plunged the country into a deep political impasse which undermined the already fragile security and political situation, thus impacting negatively on the overall human rights situation.

The ensuing fighting between the Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI) created on 17 March by Alassane Ouattara and forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo also led to massive killings across the country. The international commission of inquiry dispatched by the Human Rights Council reported that security forces systematically carried out acts of summary and extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearances, extortion, looting of public and privately-owned property, etc. Victims included mainly men but also women, children and elderly persons. The Gbagbo’s camp broadcasted messages with hate and xenophobic intents against supporters of the RHDP, ECOWAS nationals and the UN were contributory factors in the wave of attacks against persons belonging to these institutions; they also fuelled some ethnic tensions in many parts of the west thus resulting in an escalation of some of the latent inter-community conflicts occasioning many deaths, loss of property and the massive displacement of the population within and outside of the country. Many people died from collateral damages such as hunger, malnutrition and illness or by drowning while crossing the Liberia border in an attempt to seek refuge in a safe area. Furthermore, the rise and the expansion of inter-community clashes nationwide trigged by land tenure issues constituted a cause for the displacement of populations, intercommunity killings and violence creating a climate of fear and insecurity even during this pre-election period.

The capture of Mr. Gbagbo, his wife and close associates put an end to the hostilities. Nevertheless, the security vacuum particularly in the west, the break down in the security and judicial apparatus as well as the slow return to work of some security officials remains a major area of concern with significant implications on the human rights situation. While several interventions are being undertaken by the government to restore state authority in several parts of the country, the need for national reconciliation and justice has become even more compelling if the challenges facing the respect of human rights are to be adequately addressed. The government has continued to take initiatives in creating transitional justice institutions in view of facilitating the reconciliation process as well as fostering social cohesion between fractious communities especially in the west of the country. A Dialogue Truth and Reconciliation Commission (DTRC) has been established and the Commissioners appointed. OHCHR is currently engaged with the government and other relevant stakeholders with a view to supporting and enhancing the setting up of transitional justice mechanisms, including the DTRC.


The Human Rights Division of UNOCI systematically documented and reported on the human rights situation in the country, developed and implemented several capacity building and awareness-raising programmes, provided technical advice to national institutions and helped in the establishment of human rights groups, including human rights clubs in schools.

The activities conducted by the HRD aimed at combating discrimination and strengthening accountability for human rights violations, particularly for violations against women and children.

Prior to the 2010 presidential elections, a vast program of human rights education and training for political actors and law enforcement officers was carried out. After the elections, UNOCI established a Human Rights Monitoring and Investigation Task Force comprising all of the HRD staff. In addition, a 24-hour “Green Line” telephone number has been established to receive calls from the general public regarding human rights violations taking place across the country.

Prior to the post-electoral violence, the HRD provided technical assistance as well as training for governmental bodies, including Human Rights Focal Points within relevant Ministries, tasked with developing and implementing the National Human Rights Plan of Action in Côte d’Ivoire.

The HRD also assisted the National Human Rights Commission in the accomplishment of its mandate.

Côte d’Ivoire submitted its combined initial to third periodic reports of States parties under CEDAW in June 2010. The work of the HRD contributed to the strengthening of interaction between the Government and human rights mechanisms, leading to increased compliance with reporting obligations.


The main priorities of the UNOCI Human Rights Division are:

Fight against impunity
The HRD, through the Human Rights Monitoring and Investigation Task Force, will continue monitoring human rights violations committed by both security forces and armed groups in order to facilitate the prosecution of perpetrators and the reparation for the victims of abuses.

Women and Children’s rights
The accountability of perpetrators of SGBV and the assistance to the victims are fundamental steps for putting an end to violence against women. In addition to this, child recruitment and trafficking in children will be prioritized by the HRD.

Social, economical and cultural rights
Addressing poverty, access to health, education, water and sanitation is of utmost importance especially in the actual crisis context. Economic, social and cultural rights must be promoted, with particular attention to vulnerable groups.

Strengthening international human rights mechanisms and the progressive development of international human rights law

The HRD will continue to implement its « Human Rights and Elections program », with human rights education and training for political actors and law enforcement officers as a priority. This will be coupled with a sensitization campaign on human rights and democratic principles in the entire population.

Contact Information


Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division (FOTCD)
Contact in Geneva, Switzerland.

Africa Branch
Tel. +41 22 917 9220


United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire
Tel: +225 06 20 33 32 or +225 0599 0412
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

External Links

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OHCHR in the field

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