Thank you Madam President,
Let me start with commending the High Commissioner for Human Rights for presenting the report on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire. Such updates are welcome in order to monitor developments in the country and recommend a way forward. The report addresses several issues that cause great concern.
It is disconcerting that gross violations of human rights, including sexual and gender based violence, continue six months after the end of the post-election conflict. As the report states, there is an urgent need to restore security, in line with respect for human rights, to all of the country. Norway calls on Ivorian authorities to ensure security for all its citizens through disarming militias, deploying regular law enforcement forces, as well as reforming and reinforcing the security and justice sectors.
It is worrying that many of the gross violations of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire are perpetrated by members of the government’s Force républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire, with apparent impunity. FRCI-forces are policing many areas of the country. However, those meant to protect the civilian population are themselves taking part in abuse, in many instances gross violations of human rights.
While acknowledging the steps taken by the Ivorian authorities to create a professional armed force, Norway calls on the government of Côte d’Ivoire to act decisively and firmly against these repeated abuses against the civilian population by the FRCI and to bring the perpetrators to justice. The climate of impunity must end.
While former president Gbagbo and many of his associates have been arrested and indicted for crimes committed in the period following the presidential elections in November 2010, not a single individual associated with the pro-Ouattara or pro-Soro forces, the victors of the conflict, has been brought to justice.
It is important, both for the immediate security of the people in Côte d’Ivoire and for the long term reconciliation, that there is equal justice for all. Reconciliation and justice are closely intertwined. There cannot be a credible reconciliation process without proper justice.
In light of this Norway would support the recommendations by the High Commissioner, including on the need for international assistance.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank Thailand and others, including Brazil in the 17th session of the Human rights council, for their very valuable initiatives to strengthen the room for discussing the technical cooperation provided by the Office of the High Commissioner and other UN bodies on human rights.
Technical cooperation and capacity building are fundamental and increasingly important tools for the promotion and protection of human rights. As underlined by others, the Councils attention to human rights violations and shortcomings must be combined with international technical support of national efforts to address these challenges.
At the same time, there are many challenges in providing such support. In many ways technical assistance within human rights is a new field of competence which needs to be debated, not least by the Human Rights Council. There are a range of issues related to the modalities, timing, methods and division of work that would benefit from engaged debate.
We have, through the discussion of the resolution been concerned that increased focus on this issue should create increased burdens or reduce the independence of the OHCHR and those holding mandates within the special procedures. The present text, however, represent only an opportunity and no limitations on their important work.
We believe that the resolution on enhancement of technical assistance and capacity building in the field of human rights is very timely, and a logical step as the world increasingly recognises that human rights also in practical terms stand at the heart of peace, development and security.