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Cote D'Ivoire

    October 28, 2016

    Authorities in Côte d’Ivoire must stop targeting opposition members by curtailing their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said ahead of Sunday’s referendum on constitutional changes.

    On 20 October, at least 50 opposition members were arbitrarily arrested at a peaceful protest and detained for hours in moving police vehicles. Some of them were dropped in several places in the main city Abidjan, others around 100 km away from their homes and forced to walk back in a practice known as “mobile detention”.

    “This form of inhumane treatment is at odds with international and regional human rights law and standards. Whether people campaign ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for the referendum, everyone, including opposition members, has the right to peacefully express their opinion and to have their dignity respected at all times. Members of the security forces responsible for this must be identified and held to account,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher.   

    August 18, 2016

    Released  00.01 GMT 19 August 2016

    Commodities giant Trafigura must come clean over the contents of toxic waste dumped in the Côte d’Ivoire capital Abidjan ten years ago, said Amnesty International today.

    Trafigura has never disclosed exactly what was in the 540,000 plus litres of toxic waste dumped at 18 sites in Abidjan on 19 August 2006. More than 100,000 people sought medical attention after the dumping for a whole range of symptoms including dizziness, vomiting and breathing problems, and authorities reported 15 deaths.

    “A decade on from one of the worst environmental disasters of the 21st century, Trafigura and governments alike have abandoned the victims to suffer a toxic legacy. Meanwhile, Trafigura has rebranded itself, claiming it is a transparent, responsible company. This corporate giant, which posted profits of US$1.1 billion in 2015, must not be allowed to completely wash its hands of this disaster,” said Lucy Graham, researcher in Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Team.

    May 09, 2016

    Spokespeople available

    While today’s trial of former first lady Simone Gbagbo is an important step towards ending impunity in Côte d’Ivoire, Amnesty International maintains that the Ivorian authorities should reconsider their refusal to comply with their obligation to surrender her to the International Criminal Court (ICC) pursuant to an arrest warrant against her on charges of crimes against humanity.

    Simone Gbagbo is set to go on trial today in Abidjan on charges of crimes against humanity related to the post-election violence in 2010-2011. More than 1,000 people were killed in the violence that ensued when her husband Laurent Gbagbo refused to relinquish power after losing an election.

    “Unless Côte d’Ivoire applies to the International Criminal Court to again challenge the admissibility of her case they must immediately surrender Simone Gbagbo to the ICC,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, West Africa researcher for Amnesty International.

    August 19, 2014

    Dozens of local residents have told Amnesty International they continue to fear the long-term health impacts of the dumping of toxic waste belonging to multinational oil trader Trafigura in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, exactly eight years ago today.

    An Amnesty International research mission has collected heart-rending testimony from the Akouedo community, where the waste was illegally dumped on the night of 19 August 2006. The dumping caused a human and environmental disaster in Abidjan with over 100,000 people seeking medical assistance and substantial decontamination being required.

    Eight years later these people continue to have unanswered questions about their environment and the dangers of living there. Amnesty International delegates met people who spoke of the loss they had suffered because of the toxic waste dumping. Women expressed concern for their children, who suffer from ongoing health issues. They want to know why. People are also growing vegetables next to areas where toxic waste was dumped without knowing if it is safe.

    August 19, 2014
    A woman, who suffers from burns she says are caused by toxic waste, protests outside the law courts in Abidjan.

    Residents of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, continue to suffer ill-health, eight years after multi-national oil-trader Trafigura dumped toxic waste in their communities. The dumping caused a human and environmental disaster yet residents still do not have answers to their questions about health and safety. Read Amnesty International's public statement. For full details of the Trafigura toxic waste dumping case, please see Injustice Incorporated: Advancing the Right to Remedy for Corporate Abuses of Human Rights. 

    March 20, 2014

    The decision taken today by Côte d’Ivoire to send former militia leader Charles Blé Goudé, accused of crimes against humanity, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a key step towards justice for the victims of serious crimes following elections three years ago, said Amnesty International.

    “This is a case we have been concerned about for over a year. The Ivorian authorities should promptly turn over Charles Blé Goudé to the ICC as they have pledged, bringing hope to some of the victims of the violence that plagued Cote d’Ivoire for a six month period in 2010 and 2011,” Said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director, Law and Policy, Amnesty International

    However, the delay in surrendering Charles Blé Goudé to the ICC is of concern. He was held in an unlawful place of detention without access for a lawyer for over a year since his extradition from Ghana to Cote d’Ivoire.”

    January 29, 2014

    Authorities in Côte d’Ivoire must urgently investigate the unprecedented wave of homophobic attacks in Abidjan, which has forced many HIV workers to go into hiding, Amnesty International said.

    “The only way to stop the unprecedented homophobic witch-hunt taking place in Côte d’Ivoire is for the authorities to investigate the attacks and bring those responsible to justice. Failing to do that will only lead for more violence,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, West Africa researcher at Amnesty International.

    On 25 January 2014, the office of Alternative Côte d’Ivoire – an organization working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people (LGBTI) living with HIV -- was ransacked by a mob of around 200 people. Computers were stolen and the security officer was beaten so badly he required medical treatment.

    When members of the organization contacted the police they were accused of being homosexuals and working as pimps and told that the police had more important work to do.

    January 16, 2014

    Posted at 0001 GMT  17 January 2014

    Authorities in Côte d’Ivoire must transfer former militia leader Charles Blé Goudé, who is accused of crimes against humanity, to a legally recognized place of detention where his relatives and lawyers can visit him, Amnesty International said.

    Charles Blé Goudé, a supporter of former president Laurent Gbagbo, has been detained unlawfully by the Ivorian Ministry of Interior for the past year on charges relating to the 2010-11 post election violence.

    “Preventing Charles Blé Goudé from seeing his lawyers will not serve justice for the victims of the crimes he is accused of,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, West Africa researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Instead, authorities must ensure any judicial process against him is transparent and fair so victims and their relatives can obtain the justice they are entitled to.”

    July 29, 2013

    The government of Cote d’Ivoire has failed to properly investigate evidence of human rights abuses linked to the killings at Nahibly displacement camp in the west of the country just over a year ago, says Amnesty International.

    In a report published today the organization gives details of bodies thrown in several wells that have not been excavated by the authorities despite repeated calls for an investigation. Amnesty International is calling on Cote d’Ivoire to establish an international commission of inquiry into this atrocity.

    “One year on, and despite repeated promises to ensure justice, the Ivorian government has made no substantial progress in investigating the crimes committed during this attack,” said Salvatore Saguès, Amnesty International’s Researcher on West Africa.

    July 26, 2013
    Nahibly IDP camp, Côte d'Ivoire, September 2012, the camp was destroyed on 20 July 2012.

    by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada 

    “Nature is growing back, making it look like nothing ever happened here.”  

    Those were the sad words of a tenacious local human rights defender as we drove past the ruins of the Nahibly displaced persons camp just outside the town of Duékoué in western Côte d’Ivoire in late February of this year.  The Nahibly Camp, which was home to over 2,500 people, had been totally destroyed seven months earlier, on July 20, 2012, in a massive attack by a mob estimated at 1,000, led by local Dozo militias and including members of the national army.  At least 14 people – almost certainly more – were killed during the attack. Hundreds more were injured. Many more were rounded up and ‘disappeared’ as they fled the camp. Six bodies have since been found in a nearby well but many others are still missing. 

    July 26, 2013
    Still no justice one year after Nahibly camp attack

    One year ago, on 20 July 2012, Nahibly Camp, home to an estimated 2,500 internally displaced persons, near the town of Duékoué in western Côte d’Ivoire, was attacked and destroyed by a large crowd of local townspeople, Dozos - a state-supported militia of traditional hunters -, and elements of the Ivorian army. UN soldiers and police personnel posted at the camp failed or were unable to stop the attack. Local political and military officials who were present during the attack did nothing to prevent it nor to protect the internally displaced persons (IDPs), some of whom were beaten and killed. To the contrary, members of the armed forces, the Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI), arrested scores of people as they fled the camp, some of whom were then subjected to enforced disappearance and extrajudicial execution.

    March 20, 2013

    Reckless and illegal arms supplies from Europe, Africa and China to the warring parties in Côte d'Ivoire over the past decade continue to fuel grave human rights abuses and violent crime in the country, Amnesty International said in a detailed report launched at the United Nations headquarters.

    The 33-page report, Communities shattered by arms proliferation and abuse in Côte d’Ivoire, documents how a handful of states and a network of multinational arms traffickers supplied weapons and munitions to both sides in the conflict who committed war crimes and a range of human rights abuses including horrific violence against women and girls.

    The arms transfers took place both before and after the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the country in November 2004.

    “Côte d'Ivoire provides a chilling reminder of how even a UN embargo can fail to halt arms from flowing freely to warring parties, with devastating consequences for the civilian population,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    February 26, 2013

    Almost two years after the end of the post-electoral crisis which resulted in almost 3,000 deaths, Côte d’Ivoire continues to be home to serious human rights violations committed against known or suspected supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo. These violations were committed in response to an increase in armed attacks on military and strategic objectives which have created a climate of general insecurity.

    The Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI, Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire, the national army) and the military police were responsible for numerous human rights violations after arresting and detaining individuals outside any legal framework and often on the base of ethnic and political motivations. These exactions were made possible by the multiplication of places of detention not recognized as such where individuals suspected of attempts against state security were held incommunicado, sometimes for long periods, and in inhumane and degrading conditions. Many were tortured and some have been released against payment of a ransom.

    February 26, 2013

    A repressive cycle of widespread human rights violations by the armed forces pursuing former President Laurent Gbagbo’s supporters is making reconciliation in Côte d'Ivoire ever more elusive, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

    The national army, set up by President Alassane Ouattara in order to integrate forces loyal to the former President in the wake of the 2010 post-election violence which led to nearly 3,000 deaths, was supposed to ensure “the safety of person and property without distinction” and “be a powerful instrument for national cohesion”.

    But the truth behind this public gloss is that this new national army, along with an armed militia of traditional hunters - the Dozos - are carrying out extra-judicial executions, deliberate and arbitrary killings, politically motivated arrests and torture. They are acting with almost total impunity under the pretence of ensuring security and fighting against perpetrators of armed attacks.

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