UN urges probe into serious human rights abuses by traditional hunters in Côte d’Ivoire

Passers-by on a motorcycle wave to ‘dozos’ posted along the road between Man and Duékoué in western Côte d’Ivoire. Photo: IRIN/Nancy Palus

6 December 2013 – The United Nations today released a report calling for investigations into serious human rights abuses committed in Côte d’Ivoire by traditional hunters called Dozos for over four years beginning in March 2009.

The report, produced by the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), documents serious human rights abuses committed by Dozos while undertaking security activities.

These include violations of the right to life, including extrajudicial killings and summary executions, illegal arrest and detentions, looting and extortions, according to a news release.

The investigations carried out by the UN showed that at least 228 people were killed, 164 others injured by bullets, machete and knives, and 162 arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained by Dozos between March 2009 and May 2013. In addition, 274 cases of looting, arson and extortion committed by the Dozos have been confirmed.

“Dozos involved in the perpetration of human rights violations must be held accountable,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. “The authorities have the duty to carry out serious investigations into the human rights violations committed by the Dozos in Côte d’Ivoire, bring the perpetrators to justice and provide appropriate redress to the victims.

“The State authorities of Côte d’Ivoire have the duty to deploy appropriate security forces throughout the country to prevent the population from using Dozos on security issues. Impunity granted to Dozos in Côte d’Ivoire is unacceptable and must be stopped,” she stated.

The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Côte d’Ivoire, Doudou Diène, and non-governmental organizations have already made several recommendations urging the Government to take steps to address the situation of the Dozos, who continue to endanger the population.

Aïchatou Mindaoudou, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNOCI, welcomed the Government’s ongoing efforts to cover the entire country with professional security forces.

“These efforts are crucial in re-establishing the rule of law and in preventing Dozos from carrying out security functions,” she said. “The United Nations continues to offer its support to the Ivorian authorities for the advancement of security sector reforms. However, it is necessary that the Government investigates human rights abuses committed by the Dozos, in the interest of victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation.”


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