26 May 2011
Côte d’Ivoire: End reprisals against real or perceived supporters of former president Laurent Gbagbo

The Catholic Mission in Duékoué, in the West. Tens of thousands of people have sought shelter in the mission since the beginning of the violence in Côte d'Ivoire. © Amnesty International

The arrest of former President Laurent Gbagbo on 11 April 2011 did not put an end to the human rights violations and abuses committed since the proclamation of the contested results of the presidential election in November 2010.

Real or perceived Gbagbo supporters continue to face reprisals, despite President Ouattara’s call “appeal[ing] to all [his] compatriots who might feel the need for vengeance to abstain from all acts of reprisal and violence”.

These reprisals have been committed by the security forces, newly created by Alassane Ouattara, and other armed elements allied with them, including the Dozos (traditional hunters).

In Abidjan, some of the outgoing president's close supporters, including members of his government were injured during the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo and his supporters and at least one person died as a result of his injuries. Others were ill-treated at the time of their arrest. Journalists and lawyers, were also victims of violent reprisals. Some of them have had their homes looted, their offices destroyed and have had to flee, sometimes abroad.

Amnesty International remains concerned about the safety of those close to former President Laurent Gbagbo who have been arrested since April. Most, if not all these people remain detained incommunicado without any contact with their families and lawyers and some were reportedly held in life threatening conditions, notably 23 people including military and police officers held in a small cell in a military camp in Korhogo.

In the West of the country, in the last weeks, several villages where ethnic groups live who are considered to be Gbagbo’s supporters, have been attacked by the security forces and other allied armed elements. The authorities claimed that they were looking for arms and mercenaries.

As a result, some people were beaten and many were forced to flee in the bush and are living in life-threatening conditions. These people have received little or no protection from either the new security forces or the peacekeeping forces of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire.

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