"Human rights are our common heritage and their realization depends on the contributions
that each and every one of us is willing to make, individually and collectively, now and in the future."

Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2004 - Activities in the Field: Cote d'Ivoire



On 10 December 2004 , the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (ONUCI) organized various activities to commemorate the international human rights day and the 56 th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Human Rights, the Division held a special event at ONUCI headquarters in Abidjan . Present at the event were representatives of the Ministries of Human Rights, Interior and Defense, victims of war, UN agencies, the Swiss Government and civil society organizations. In his address, the Principal Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Alan Doss, stressed the necessity to reinforce the protection mechanisms and the judicial system in order to combat impunity. He also focused on the need for local authorities to strengthen their capacity to provide human rights education. Copies of the Universal Declaration, the message of the Secretary General and the message of the High Commissioner for Human Rights were distributed to participants.

As part of the special event, a round table was organized on ‘The Role of NGOs in the Reinforcement of the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights through Human Rights Education in Côte d’Ivoire ’. Representatives of two leading human rights organizations, the Ligue Ivoirienne des droits de l’homme (LIDHO) and the Mouvement Ivoirien des droits humains (MIDH) led the round table discussions .

ONUCI’s human rights field office in Daloa, western Côte d’Ivoire , commemorated International Human Rights Day by organizing a ceremony attended by local authorities, ONUCI colleagues, civil society organizations and students. Primary and secondary school students participating in the event presented various articles of the national Constitution which reaffirm human rights Principles contained in the Universal Declaration. The messages of the Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights were read and distributed to the participants at the end of the ceremony.

On 10 December 2004, the Chief of ONUCI’s Human Rights Division chaired the ceremony held by the Institute of Dignity and Human Rights, administrated by the Jesuit Congregation, for the award of prizes to winners of a national human rights art contest organized for children between the ages of 8 and 15 and of certificates to students who recently completed a postgraduate human rights course at the Institute. The Institute stressed the urgent need to reinforce its collaboration with the Human Rights Division and invited staff of the Division to support its teaching activities by giving lectures and conducting seminars on international human rights law.

ONUCI’s Public Information Office issued a special edition of the Mission’s Newsletter to mark international human rights day. The special issue featured an interview with the Chief of the Human Rights Division that centred on the theme of this year’s international human rights day, the main human rights violations reported during this crucial period in Côte d ’Ivoire and on the relationship between Ivorian human rights NGOs and ONUCI’s Human Rights Division.