Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
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Human Rights Council - 25th Regular Session

Item 10
Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Côte d’Ivoire
Australian statement

25 March 2014
 

Australia acknowledges some positive recent developments in relation to human rights observance in Côte d’Ivoire. Progress has been achieved on sensitive topics which have been the subject of consistent recommendations by the Independent Expert and other United Nations mechanisms. This includes the release of 14 detainees pending trial, the publication of laws on nationality and rural landownership, and the adoption by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire of a bill on human rights defenders.

Improved human rights observance in Côte d’Ivoire is inextricably linked to the security situation in the country. This has continued to improve, although it remains fragile. We acknowledge the significant work undertaken by the Government and the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire in the areas of Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR).

Australia supports the call by the Independent Expert for the renewal of the mandate of the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission and for a better focus of its activities. Profound and lasting national reconciliation can only be the result of a collective effort.

Australia however concerned by the recent resurgence of partisan and polarising discourse – or hate speech - in Ivoirian media outlets. Noting the Report of the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Côte d’Ivoire, we would welcome the Independent Expert’s views on addressing the return of hate speech in the lead-up to the 2015 presidential election.

Australia is also deeply concerned by the prevalence of sexual violence in Côte d’Ivoire. Freedom from violence is a prerequisite to women’s full exercise of their human rights. Does the Independent Expert have any advice on what more can be done to break down the culture of violence against women?