Côte d’Ivoire: Decree No. 2017-121 for the Application of the 2014 Law Protecting Human Rights Defenders

On February 22 2017, the government of Côte d’Ivoire adopted Decree No. 2017-121. This decree implements the 2014 Law on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Defenders, thereby activating its modalities. This decree is an example of a delay in the effective protection of human rights defenders (it took three years to develop its implementation), as well as the use of legislation to formulate ambiguous articles that can be used against human rights defenders (HRD or defenders). Article 16, in particular, contains provisions on the duties of defenders that can be used to restrict their freedoms:

“In strict compliance with the laws of the Republic, human rights defenders work to maintain cohesion among the country’s populations. In this respect, they shall :
a) Refrain from issuing, disseminating or relaying rumours and information likely to disturb public order;
b) respect the institutions of the Republic and the personalities that embody them
c) promote democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms”

Find the original publication here in French (JOURNAL OFFICIEL).