GENEVA (9 November 2020) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday urged all sides in Cote d’Ivoire to refrain from incitement to violence and to engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve the difficult situation following the presidential elections in the country.
“It is in nobody’s interests to fuel the threat of increasing political instability – we have seen the violence such provocations led to in 2011,” the High Commissioner said. “I call on all sides to tone down the hateful rhetoric and to work to find common solutions, with full respect for the rule of law and human rights, through an inclusive, meaningful dialogue.”
More than 6,000 Ivorians have already fled the country into neighbouring States due to the election-related tensions, as well as intercommunal violence in some localities, according to the UN Refugee Agency, and the numbers continue to rise.
Bachelet expressed serious concerns about the arrests of several opposition leaders – at least eight of whom reportedly remain in detention – and the deployment of security forces at the residences of others. The Public Prosecutor’s Office has announced that it has opened judicial investigations into filing charges against some members of the opposition, including terrorism-related charges. There have also been worrying reports that unidentified individuals fired shots at some opposition figures’ residences. In addition, there are reports that some Government officials’ convoys were attacked by unidentified armed men in the central region of the country, between Bouake and Beoumi, and in Toumodi, reportedly resulting in casualties, including one death.
“I urge political leaders from all sides to work together to calm the tensions through dialogue – not heavy-handed security responses and arrests,” she said, calling also for the right to freedom of peaceful assembly to be protected.
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