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Human Rights Council 31, Geneva: UK Statement regarding the human rights situation in Côte D’Ivoire

UK statement delivered during the dialogue with the Independent Expert on the Human Rights situation in Côte D’Ivoire at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, 22 March 2016.

Thank you Mr President

The UK would like to condemn the appalling terrorist attack that took place in Grand Bassam on 13 March, and would like to offer its deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have been killed and injured.

The UK would like to thank the Independent Expert on the Human Rights situation in Côte D’Ivoire, Mr Mohammed Ayat, for his written report covering the period from September to December 2015.

The UK welcomes the free, fair and peaceful way in which the recent Presidential elections were held in Côte D’Ivoire. This is a significant step towards recovery following the electoral crisis of 2011. We would like to highlight the continued importance of the political dialogue between the government and the opposition – national reconciliation is crucial to ensuring lasting stability and will be the key to a full return to normalisation and economic prosperity for all Ivorians. We therefore welcome the emphasis placed on this issue by President Ouattara during his inauguration address.

We also welcome the progress made by the Government of Côte D’Ivoire on the issue of human rights, especially in providing compensation for victims and combating sexual violence against women. However, we are concerned that the Criminal Code still does not provide a definition for rape and would like to know how Mr Ayat foresees progress on this matter.

We are encouraged that the Ivorian authorities have prioritised improving the poor condition of their prisons and look forward to future progress reports on this matter.

The UK also welcomes progress made by the judiciary in combating impunity and urges the government of Côte D’Ivoire to ensure all alleged perpetrators of crimes against humanity are held accountable for their actions, regardless of political, regional, religious or tribal affiliations.

Thank you Mr President