UN misses opportunity to protect Ivorian population

Amnesty International welcomes the readiness of the Human Rights Council to respond to the human rights emergency in Côte d’Ivoire, but regrets that the Council has missed the opportunity to use all means at its disposal to prevent further serious human rights violations and abuses. The Human Rights Council met on 23 December in a special session to consider the worsening situation in Côte d’Ivoire, which has seen an increasing number of unlawful killings, enforced disappearances and physical abuse in the wake of the 28 November presidential election. The Council adopted a resolution condemning the human rights violations that have taken place and calling, in general terms, for an end to human rights violations, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and an end to incitement to violence, hostility and hate speech.  

“While welcoming the call to respect human rights, the Council could have gone much further to address the deteriorating situation,” said Peter Splinter, Amnesty International’s Representative to the UN in Geneva.“The resolution does nothing to impress upon the perpetrators – including the instigators – of the ongoing extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations and abuses that they are, and will be, accountable for their acts.” Amnesty International says that at a minimum, the Council should have reminded all interested parties that Côte d’Ivoire has accepted the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) for acts committed on Ivorian territory, and that the ICC would be able to investigate and prosecute those involved in human rights violations and abuses. Amnesty International also regrets that the Council has taken a largely business-as-usual approach to follow-up to its special session. “While Amnesty International welcomes the opportunity offered to the High Commissioner for Human Rights to inform the Council at times of her choosing on violations and abuses of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire, it is disappointing that no explicit provision was made to enable the Council to act on the situation in the Côte d’Ivoire prior to its next regular session in March 2011″, said Peter Splinter. “At this critical time the Ivorian population certainly deserved a more robust intervention than the Human Rights Council has offered them.”