Ivory Coast Democracy and Rights

Democracy and rights

Respect for human rights has been strengthened since the end of the civil war in 2011. But the government lacks partial control over the security forces and the situation of women is a major problem.

Abbreviated as IC by Abbreviationfinder, the Ivory Coast Constitution provides for democracy with universal suffrage and multi-party systems. There are a variety of parties that represent different views. According to international observers, the latest elections are reported to have been conducted correctly, although violence between supporters of different parties occurred (see Current policy).

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Few have been held accountable for the war crimes committed in the country during the civil war are going slow, which is criticized by human rights organizations (see also below). High militias, many of whom are former rebel leaders, still have a great political influence in the country.

The constitution guarantees freedom of assembly and association, but in practice the authorities sometimes stop or dissolve peaceful demonstrations. Many demonstrations still take place, but violence between police and protesters can occur.

Local as well as international NGOs are free to operate in the country.

Sexual violence is commonplace and the stigma that it involves being abused prevents many women from reporting the crime or seeking care. It is unusual for perpetrators to be prosecuted for the crimes. Although there is no law that prevents women from getting involved politically, traditional values ​​function as a brake pad. Women held 11 percent of the seats in Parliament in 2018 (see Social conditions).

LGBTQ people are widely discriminated against. Violence against LGBTQ people is rarely investigated by the police.

Freedom of religion prevails and is generally respected (see Religion).

Corruption is widespread and especially evident in the judiciary, the police and public procurement. In 2019, Transparency International places Ivory Coast at 106th in its ranking of perceived corruption in 180 countries. This is basically the same position as the previous year.

Freedom of expression and media

People can speak relatively openly about political opinions without risking harassment.

Conditions for the press have improved in recent years and it is unusual for journalists to be subjected to serious violence, although some harassment still exists. In 2017, a press law was passed that basically prohibits imprisonment of journalists, although they can be sentenced to fines.

Most of the media clearly take a stand for the government or the opposition, few are politically unfounded in their reporting.

Reporters Without Borders places Ivory Coast in place 71 on its list of press freedom in 180 countries in 2019, which corresponds to a push upwards of 30 places since 2013.

There are no reports that the authorities have restricted access to the Internet.

Judicial system and legal security

According to the constitution, the judiciary should be independent, but according to reports from human rights organizations, the government exerts pressure in politically sensitive cases. The lack of progress in processes surrounding the war crimes committed during the war is also seen as proof of the independence of the judiciary. There are reports of corruption and bribery to judges.

The country’s prisons are overcrowded and conditions are very poor. There is a problem with long detention times (see Political system).

The death penalty was abolished in 2000.

Human Rights

Both government forces and militia groups and rebels have committed serious abuses against the civilian population. These include, among other things, extrajudicial executions, torture, rape and the recruitment of child soldiers. A Truth Commission was appointed in 2011 to investigate the abuses committed during the 2010 and 2011 riots.

In 2011, former President Laurent Gbagbo was extradited to the ICC) in The Hague to face trial for crimes against humanity. He was charged with being an “indirect accomplice” in murders, rapes, persecution and other inhumane acts. Gbagbo is the first former head of state prosecuted by the ICC. One of the Young Patriots’ leaders, Charles Blé Goudé, who was also a youth minister, was prosecuted by the ICC, alongside Gbagbo. However, Laurent Gbagbo and Blé Goudé were acquitted by the ICC in early 2019 (see also Calendar).

However, Gbagbo’s wife Simone Gbagbo has been prosecuted in his home country and sentenced in March 2015 to 20 years in prison for his role in the violence. In August 2018, she was granted amnesty by President Ouattara.



The choice is postponed

The election is postponed again with reference to the fact that voting lengths are not clear.


New arms purchases worry

According to a UN report, both sides are acquiring new weapons, despite the arms embargo on the country. The northern part is said to lack a functioning administration, natural resources exploited by rebel commanders and the money used to buy weapons from Burkina Faso. In the south, the government side also provides new weapons, according to the UN. The lack of border controls makes it possible to smuggle uncut diamonds out of the country.


Civil government is introduced in the north

The former rebels hand over the rule of ten northern zones, including the area around the city of Bouaké, to a civil administration appointed by President Gbagbo.

New date for the election

Prime Minister Soro announces that elections will be held in November.


Protest against Gbagbo

Members of the New Forces urge their leader Soro to resign as prime minister in protest of Gbagbo’s party’s FPI, which they believe puts obstacles in the way of the election. According to a UN report, the situation in the country has stabilized and close to 6 million people have registered to vote. But violence and abuse occur, mainly in the west and in the north.