Rape a disturbing trend in Ivory Coast
According to findings by the United Nations Operation in the country and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), there have been 1 129 cases of rape in Ivory Coast between January 2012 and 31 December 2015.
Some 66 percent of the victims are children.
Despite the end of hostilities since 2011 and the respite brought by stabilization, instances of rape, mainly committed by individuals, continue.
The UN agencies believe the prevalence of rape was exacerbated by years of conflict in the West African country.
The civil war fostered a culture of violence due to the general climate of insecurity. There was persistent impunity due to the lack of systematic prosecution.
Although investigations were opened in 90 percent of rape cases documented in the report, less than 20 percent of them resulted in a conviction.
UN agencies reported all 203 cases that ended in a conviction were “reclassified”, a common practice of judging rape as a lesser offence and for which the sentencing is less severe.
The report recommends that the Ivorian authorities ensure all victims of sexual violence have access to justice and consider holding special sessions of the Criminal Courts on rape crimes.
“Côte d’Ivoire in recent years has recorded significant progress in terms of human rights, but the persistence of rape and impunity towards their perpetrators remain of serious concern and requires urgent action,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
– CAJ News
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