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Côte d’Ivoire: UN expert calls for broad consultations on the reform of the Electoral Commission

GENEVA (23 April 2014) – The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Cote d’Ivoire, Doudou Diène, today called on the authorities to undertake broad consultations in the framework of the reform of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) “to prevent the country from falling back into crisis.”

“The adoption of the draft bill on the reform of the Electoral Commission constitutes an important initial step in the consolidation of democracy in Côte d’Ivoire. This reform must contribute to the national reconciliation process and reinforce the re-launching of the political dialogue,” Mr. Diène said.

The Independent Expert’s call follows the recent adoption by the Government of a bill on the IEC’s composition, organization, powers and functioning, in response to a specific recommendation made by the Independent Expert in his reports to the UN Human Rights Council.

“The IEC, which will be in charge of the 2015 presidential elections, has represented in the past the most sensitive institution of the post-electoral crisis,” the expert noted. “The 2015 elections should constitute the ultimate test of a sustainable democratic reconstruction and deep reconciliation. These elections should be conducted in a democratic and consensual framework.”

“If there is to be a resurgence of a dialogue in Côte d’Ivoire, the fundamental institutional problems that resulted from the elections must be resolved,” Mr. Diène said recalling his latest report*. “Consensus must be reached on the mapping of electoral districts, on voters’ lists and on the composition of the Independent Electoral Commission.”

There is a need to consolidate “the democratic dynamic currently under way, in particular by continuing the inter-Ivorian dialogue, reforming the Independent Electoral Commission and electoral rolls and establishing a legal status for the political opposition, so as to create conditions conducive to the peaceful and democratically credible holding of the 2015 presidential elections,” the human rights expert recommended.

“The bill on the reform of the Electoral Commission, expressing the Government’s view, should be submitted to broad and open consultations with all the political actors and civil society representatives,” Mr. Diène stressed.

“The democratic and consensual reform of the IEC constitutes the most credible test, to the Ivorian People and the international community, of the willingness and the ability of the Ivorian politicians to draw all the political and moral lessons of the crisis and to build together national reconciliation”, he concluded.

(*) Check the Independent Expert 2014 report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/25/73): http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=187

Mr. Doudou Diène (Senegal) took up his functions as UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d'Ivoire in 2011. In that capacity, he acts independently from any Government or organization. Mr. Diène was previously the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in 2002-2008.

The mandate of the Independent Expert was established by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011 for a period of one year to assist the Government and relevant actors in the follow-up of the recommendations of the International Commission of Inquiry on Côte d’Ivoire and the Human Rights Council, including the ones addressed to the international community. The mandate was renewed by the Human Rights Council in June 2013 for one year. Check the Independent Expert’s latest report on Côte d’Ivoire: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session25/Pages/ListReports.aspx

UN Human Rights, country page – Cote d’Ivoire: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CIIndex.aspx

For additional information and media requests, please contact Johel Dominique (+41 22 928 9398 / jdominique@ohchr.org).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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