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In a statement released this Thursday, April 1, 2021, The National Human Rights Council commented on the press release issued on March 26 by Amnesty International. The institution also provided answers to the various cases raised by the international organization. Below is the full statement

DECLARATION N ° 004 OF THE NATIONAL RIGHTS COUNCIL

DE L’HOMME (CNDH) RELATING TO THE AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE

On March 26, 2021, Amnesty International issued a press release titled “Ivory Coast: Hundreds of People Detained Following Electoral Troubles”.

In this press release, Amnesty International, after welcoming the progress made in the investigations into the violence that plagued the 2020 electoral process, claims to have gathered information on facts constituting human rights violations in connection with with cases targeting certain litigants and pending before the courts. This concerns information on cases of arbitrary detention, systematic recourse to pre-trial detention and lack of access to a lawyer, allegations of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, deplorable prison conditions and problems. health conditions aggravated by lack of medical care.

The CNDH maintains that the cases noted by Amnesty International do not objectively and rigorously call into question the legal guarantees of detained persons as well as their access to healthcare.

The CNDH, with regard to information relating to the cases of detention in connection with the electoral context of 2020, specifies that the Public Prosecutor has taken it up and that the procedure is continuing, in particular within the special cell of investigation and investigation, in compliance with the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure. These detentions cannot be qualified as arbitrary, since the persons detained are by virtue of a detention title legally granted by the competent authorities, and the procedural rules offer them the latitude to be assisted by a lawyer or to be admitted to the benefit of Legal Assistance.

In addition, the CNDH is following with particular attention the proceedings concerning the Public Prosecutor’s Office against Madame Pulchérie GBALET and others, all detained at the Abidjan House of Arrest and Correction (MACA).

However, it encourages the judicial authorities to use the alternative measures to detention contained in the 2018 Criminal Procedure Code, making freedom the principle and detention an exception.

Regarding the allegations of torture, the CNDH has not been the subject of any referral either from any alleged victim, or from relatives or relatives concerning cases of torture, inhuman treatment or degrading.

Regarding prison conditions, most of the prisons built after independence are overcrowded with regard to their theoretical reception capacities, as mentioned in its 2020 annual report.

However, the CNDH wishes to underline the efforts made by the State through the construction of new penitentiary establishments as well as the implementation of the circular n ° 001 / MJDH / CAB of January 12, 2021, inviting the Heads of Courts, of Courts and sections of Courts for the continuous improvement of the public service of Justice.

As far as access to health care in prison is concerned, inmates actually benefit from it and if necessary are transferred to external hospitals, in accordance with Decree No. 69-189 of May 14, 1969 regulating penitentiary establishments and fixing the modalities of execution of custodial sentences.

As of today, the CNDH has not collected any data indicating a case of death due to COVID-19 in the 34 prisons in Côte d’Ivoire.

The CNDH would like to point out for all practical purposes that the wearing of shackles for inmates hospitalized outside MACs does not constitute a violation of Human Rights, in view of the above decree.

The CNDH urges all national and international organizations, including Amnesty International, to continue to strengthen their support for the Ivorian authorities and all stakeholders for the improvement of the human rights situation in Côte d’Ivoire.

The CNDH reassures detained persons and all litigants that it ensures compliance with the human rights protection guarantees contained in our usual codes.

Done in Abidjan, March 31, 2021

For the Council

The president

Namizata SANGARE

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