Côte d’Ivoire

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Côte D’ivoire 2023

Opposition party supporters were arbitrarily arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Courts declared illegal the forced evictions of hundreds of families in Abidjan. Over 7 million people were enrolled in the universal health coverage programme although concerns remained that some treatments were ineligible for reimbursement. The government took measures to contain the rising cost of essential consumer products. While cocoa cultivation continued to contribute to deforestation, a government-led project sought to conserve and increase forest stock. Child labour persisted in various sectors of the economy.


In September, peaceful municipal and regional elections were held three years after violent clashes erupted during presidential elections.

The remains of 47 people were returned to their relatives following judicial investigations into the 2010/2011 post-electoral crisis in which hundreds of people were unlawfully killed.

By November, UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, had registered over 30,000 people who were seeking refuge from the armed conflict in Burkina Faso.

Over 30 people died due to floods between April and July, according to the government.

Freedom of expression and assembly

On 24 February, the authorities arbitrarily arrested 31 activists from the opposition African People’s Party-Côte d’Ivoire (PPA-CI). They were arrested after they had accompanied their party’s secretary general to attend a court summons for his alleged role in the attack on a military barracks in the economic capital, Abidjan, in 2021. On 9 March, 26 of them were sentenced to two years in prison for “disturbing public order” but were released on 22 March after their sentences were suspended on appeal.1

On 25 February, four people were arrested after they flew the Russian flag at a PPA-CI rally in Yopougon, a suburb of Abidjan. They were detained at the Abidjan Penitentiary Centre and released on 22 March without charge.

Forced evictions

In March, a court of first instance in Abidjan declared the forced evictions of hundreds of families by the Koumassi town council in Houphouet Boigny 1 and 2 districts in Koumassi commune, Abidjan, to be illegal. The evictions took place in 2021 as part of a flood prevention and improvement policy.

The Yopougon town council disregarded a July court of first instance ruling that declared unlawful the eviction of 178 families from the Banco Nord Extension 2 area. In September, authorities continued with further evictions and home demolitions in the area.

Right to health

The minister of employment and social protection revealed in October that 7.2 million people had been enrolled in the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) programme which was launched in 2022. It aimed to improve access to quality healthcare. However, according to media reports, concerns remained about the small number of drugs which were eligible for reimbursement under the programme, and the limited number of health centres that accepted UHC payments.

Right to food

According to the National Institute of Statistics report, published in December, the inflation rate reached 4.4% during the year. In response, the authorities took measures to protect the population’s purchasing power. In September, they suspended the export of rice and sugar until the end of the year, to combat the rising cost of such products and to ensure a stable supply to the internal market.

Right to a healthy environment

Stage two of the Forestry Investment Project began in 2023 with financial support from the World Bank of USD 148 million. According to the government, the project aimed to conserve and increase forest stock and improve the livelihoods of communities living in targeted forest areas. According to research published in May in the online journal Nature Food, “cocoa cultivation is an underlying driver of over 37% of forest loss in protected areas in Côte d’Ivoire”. The report highlighted the need to ensure fairer prices and to support improved farming practices.

Children’s rights

At the end of his visit to Côte d’Ivoire, the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery said he had been informed during his visit that “child labour persist[ed] in various sectors of the economy, including agriculture, domestic work, street vending and in artisanal gold mining.” He also raised concerns “about the fate of girls who have either been trafficked from countries in the region to Côte d’Ivoire for sexual exploitation or who are subject to forced and early marriage”.

  1. “Côte d’Ivoire: Amnesty International demands immediate release of arbitrarily detained PPA-CI activists”, 13 March (French only)