Côte d’Ivoire: Authorities must ensure human rights are respected before, during and after elections

Responding to the acts of violence and infringements on fundamental freedoms that have marred election campaigning in Côte d’Ivoire ahead of the polls on 31 October, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International's Regional Director for West and Central Africa, said:

Clashes in Côte d’Ivoire between supporters of the President’s party and supporters of the opposition parties, which have led to at least 18 deaths and numerous injuries since August, have contributed to an increasingly tense and volatile atmosphere ahead of Saturday’s vote
Samira Doaud

“Clashes in Côte d’Ivoire between supporters of the President’s party and supporters of the opposition parties, which have led to at least 18 deaths and numerous injuries since August, have contributed to an increasingly tense and volatile atmosphere ahead of Saturday’s vote. The authorities must ensure that the human rights of all people are protected, no matter their political affiliations, before, during and after the elections.

“This means allowing political activists, human rights defenders, observers, journalists, pro-democracy activists, the right to peaceful protests and maintaining their access to internet. Opposition groups denouncing or calling for a boycott of the elections should be allowed to exercise their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. At the same time, those who choose to participate in the elections should be able to do so freely and safely.

The authorities must ensure that the human rights of all people are protected, no matter their political affiliations, before, during and after the elections

“The authorities must immediately and unconditionally release anyone arbitrarily arrested for calling for a peaceful protest against Alassane Ouattara’s re-election bid or demonstrated against it.”

Background

On 6 August, President Alassane Ouattara announced his decision to run for a third term in office. The Constitutional Council rejected the candidacy of 40 contenders, including former president Laurent Gbagbo, former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and political opponent Mamadou Koulibaly.

On 20 September, opposition parties joined forces to call for civil disobedience. In October, the government extended a ban on all demonstrations, sit-ins and other gatherings, except for those organized in support of the electoral campaign, until 1 November.

Since August, at least 41 people were arrested in Abidjan, Korogho, Toumodi and Alepe for participating in protests or for calling on people to protest against Ouattara’s third term. Acts of violence erupted in several localities, including recently in Dabou and Yopougon.  

Amnesty International does not support or reject any political ideology, including for party or political candidate in Côte d’Ivoire or in any other state. Its objective is to promote the universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including liberty, equality, justice, and dignity, among other rights.