Practice Relating to Rule 132. Return of Displaced Persons
In 2009, in its report to the UN Human Rights Council, Côte d’Ivoire stated: “[T]he political and military crises faced by Côte d’Ivoire since 1999, exacerbated by the war which broke out in September 2002, have had many grave consequences in the political, economic and social spheres.”
Côte d’Ivoire also stated:
133. The successive political and military crises … have resulted in massive and repeated waves of population displacement. According to the available estimates, the number of those affected is between 750,000 and 1 million.
135. … [T]he State, working in conjunction with a number of partners has initiated and put in place incentives and programmes of assistance to enable displaced people to return to their regions of origin.
In 2010, in its combined initial to third periodic reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Côte d’Ivoire stated: “The military and political crisis has displaced large numbers of people from the Centre North-West region to the government-controlled area.”
Côte d’Ivoire also stated: “There are several resettlement programmes for … war victims”.
In 2013, in its initial report to the Human Rights Committee, Côte d’Ivoire stated:
211. The National Commission of Inquiry created by Decree No. 2011-176 of 20 July 2011 to investigate violations of human rights and public freedoms in the aftermath of the presidential election held on 31 October and 28 November 2010 was given the task of conducting non-judicial investigations into breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law in the period from 31 October 2010 to 15 May 2011.
225. The security situation worsened further with the post-election crisis of December 2010, with armed conflict leading to widespread devastation and the destruction of police and gendarmerie stations and military camps.
Côte d’Ivoire further stated:
The situation of displaced persons in Côte d’Ivoire
405. The violence that followed the presidential election in Côte d’Ivoire in November 2010 displaced hundreds of thousands of people. By the time the crisis reached its height, in 2011, about 200,000 men, women and children had sought asylum in 13 neighbouring countries, with Liberia, Ghana and Togo taking in the largest numbers. In addition, about a million people are estimated to have been displaced within Côte d’Ivoire. The situation improved considerably after April 2011, when the new President took office and a new Government was formed.
406. To help refugees return to Côte d’Ivoire, in August 2011 the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees concluded a tripartite agreement with the Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia, thus creating the legal framework and procedures for the repatriation of Ivorian refugees in Liberia who freely consented to this. A similar agreement was concluded with the Ghanaian authorities in October 2011.
407. Within Côte d’Ivoire itself, most internally displaced persons were able to return to their homes and attempt to rebuild their lives. However, tens of thousands have yet to find lasting solutions to their displacement.
408. Lack of security, humanitarian needs and access to land are the main obstacles to the return of displaced persons in the west of the country, where ongoing land disputes are perpetuating displacement and feeding ethnic tensions. Other major difficulties stand in the way of internally displaced persons’ desire to resume a normal life: food insecurity, limited access to health, education and housing services and gender-based sexual violence.
409. Another factor is the inadequacy of the financial resources available to implement the different projects and programmes devised for the rehabilitation and/or reintegration of internally displaced persons.
Responses to internal population displacement
410. In October 2011, the Ministry of Employment, Social Affairs and Solidarity, which is responsible for coordination with humanitarian organizations, set up a National Humanitarian Action Coordination Committee bringing together a number of ministries, NGOs and United Nations agencies. In this cooperative framework, humanitarian actors developed a strategy to enable internally displaced persons to return on a voluntary, sustainable basis, and this was validated by the Government in November 2011.
411. The restoration of State authority and security throughout the country, together with the restoration of basic social services and the promotion of income-generating activities, constitute responses to the return and reintegration difficulties of internally displaced persons.
412. In addition, government programmes were put in place for displaced persons. Under the President’s Emergency Plan, about 380 water pumps in villages taking in returning displaced persons were repaired during the first half of 2012. The Government provided this distressed population with financial and material assistance. It even contributed to the rebuilding of 1,000 dwellings with technical support from a humanitarian agency, Care.
413. Following the incidents triggered by the closure of the Nahibly camp, populations have benefited from government food and non-food donations and from financial support totalling CFAF 70 million.
414. The Government has made a substantial effort on behalf of internally displaced persons in the Lagunes region by providing a fund of CFAF 50 million to initiate a huge return operation, acting once again in collaboration with humanitarian agencies.
415. The Government is also benefiting from various programmes put in place by the international community to assist with reintegration into communities in certain parts of the country, especially the west.
416. These combined actions have produced tangible results. Whereas in May 2011 there were an estimated 80,000 internally displaced persons on 118 sites, there are now no displaced persons on these sites.