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Côte d’Ivoire: UN call for investigations into serious human rights abuses by traditional hunters

ABIDJAN/GENEVA (06 December 2013) – A UN report has called for investigations into serious human rights abuses committed by traditional hunters called Dozos between March 2009 and May 2013 in Côte d’Ivoire.

The report, released today by the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in cooperation with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for human rights (OHCHR), documents serious human rights abuses committed by Dozos while undertaking security activities, These include violations of the right to life, including extrajudicial killings and summary executions, illegal arrest and detentions, looting and extortions.

The investigations carried out by the Human Rights Division of UNOCI showed that at least 228 people were killed, 164 others injured by bullets, machete and knives, and 162 arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained by Dozos between March 2009 and May 2013. In addition, 274 cases of looting, arson and extortion committed by the Dozos have been verified and confirmed, including in the regions of Gbôklé, Haut-Sassandra, Gôh, Cavally, Guemon, Tonkpi, Marahoué, Nawa, Indenie-Djuablin, Poro and Moronou.

“Dozos involved in the perpetration of human rights violations must be held accountable,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. “The authorities have the duty to carry out serious investigations into the human rights violations committed by the Dozos in Côte d’Ivoire, bring the perpetrators to justice and provide appropriate redress to the victims. The State authorities of Côte d’Ivoire have the duty to deploy appropriate security forces throughout the country to prevent the population from using Dozos on security issues. Impunity granted to Dozos in Côte d’Ivoire is unacceptable and must be stopped,” she said.

The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire, Doudou Diène, and NGOs have already made several recommendations urging the Government to take steps to address the situation of the Dozos who continue to endanger the population.

“I welcome the ongoing efforts by the Government to cover the entire country with professional security forces. These efforts are crucial in reestablishing the rule of law and in preventing Dozos from carrying out security functions,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) in Côte d’Ivoire, Aïchatou Mindaoudou. “The UN continues to offer its support to the Ivorian authorities for the advancement of security sector reforms. However, it is necessary that the Government investigates human rights abuses committed by the Dozos, in the interest of victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation.”

The full report is available here (in French): http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/CI/CIRapportDozos.docx

* The United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) was established in 2004 by the Security Council through its resolution 1528 (2004) of 27 February 2004. It comprises the Human Rights Division which represents the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Abidjan:
Kadidia Ledron, UNOCI Spokesperson Tel: +225-20 23 33 45, Mobile: +225- 05 99 00 30, Email: ledron@un.org
Eugene Nindorera, Chief, UNOCI Human Rights Division, Tel.: (225) 20 23 32 81; (225) 06 57 31 75 / nindorera@un.org

In Geneva:
Rupert Colville: +41 79 506 1088 / rcolville@ohchr.org
Cécile Pouilly: +41 22 917 9310 / cpouilly@ohchr.org

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