Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Geneva, Switzerland
Address: Chemin des Fins 2, Case Postale 102, 1211 Geneva 19 - Telephone: 022 799 9100 - Fax: 022 799 9178

Human Rights Council - 19th Regular Session

Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Cote d’Ivoire

21 March 2012

The Australian Government welcomes the report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire. The report provides a balanced perspective on the challenges facing Côte d’Ivoire, efforts made by the Ivorian Government to address these challenges, and steps to be taken by both the government and the international community.

The Australian Government commends Côte d’Ivoire’s prioritisation of economic recovery and commitment to transparent governance. These are critical to restoring stability and the rule of law, and addressing youth unemployment, land tenure disputes and identification and nationality issues. We note with concern, however, the ongoing security and human rights challenges facing Côte d’Ivoire, including ongoing religious and inter-ethnic tensions and the continuing plight of refugees and internally displaced people.

Cote d’Ivoire’s recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court is an encouraging reflection of its commitment to ensuring that serious international crimes are investigated and prosecuted regardless of political affiliation. We encourage Côte d’Ivoire to become a State Party to the Rome Statute.

The establishment of a Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission is a highly positive development in the reconciliation process, which will complement the criminal prosecution of serious crimes. The Australian Government stresses the importance of security sector reform, and the completion of the demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration process, to restoring confidence between the population and security agencies.

The Australian Government strongly supports the recommendations of the independent expert. In particular, we agree that the international community should increase its involvement in Côte d’Ivoire including by supporting the ongoing democratic process; providing assistance to the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission; strengthening the judiciary and security apparatus; supporting the promotion of human rights; and actively contributing to the economic recovery of Cote d’Ivoire.

Australia is committed to playing its part in supporting these objectives. The Australian Government provided A$5 million to UNICEF, UNHCR, IOM and the ICRC to support the humanitarian response to the crisis; A$500,000 to UNICEF to rehabilitate 50 schools in western Côte d’Ivoire; A$85,000 in support of women’s peace initiatives; and ten scholarships in 2012 in areas including agriculture, mining, and English language training.

We would be grateful for the Independent Expert’s views on how he expects the Dialogue, Truth and Reconciliation Commission to contribute to the ongoing reconciliation process in Cote d’Ivoire.