Communication 318/06 – Open Society Justice Initiative v. Côte d’Ivoire 1. The Secretariat of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Secretariat) received a complaint on 23 January 2006 submitted by the Open Society Justice Initiative Organization based in New York under Article 55 of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) . 2. The Complaint was filed against the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (State Party to the African Charter, hereafter referred to as the Respondent State or Côte d’Ivoire).1 3. The Complaint alleges that for 33 years, upon attainment of independence, Côte d’Ivoire experienced economic prosperity as the leading cocoa producer in the world under the leadership of President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. The latter promoted a policy of ethnic tolerance and welcomed migrant peasants from neighboring countries. However, according to the Complainant, the country was destabilized as a result of the emergence of political divisions based on geographical, religious and ethnic considerations. 4. According to the Complainant, President Henri Konan Bédié, who succeeded President Houphouët-Boigny, deepened the divisions by introducing the concept of « ivoirité » the implementation of which meant that Ivorian nationality could be obtained only by persons born in Côte d’Ivoire by two Ivorian parents. Such a policy, according to the Complainant, affected 30% of the population, including persons who were born in Côte d’Ivoire and had grown up and lived all their life in the country. The outcome of this situation, inter alia, was a socio-political exclusion through a ban on access to land, voting and holding of public office. According to the Complainant, the policy of « ivoirité » was initiated to exclude Mr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara, a native of the north of Côte d’Ivoire from the majority Dioula ethnic group, who had also held the position of Prime Minister under President Houphouët-Boigny, and considered to be his natural successor, from running for political office. 5. These ethnic and religious tensions resulted in a coup d’état in 1999 leading to the takeover of power by General Robert Guéi who continued with the political exclusion agenda initiated under President Bedie’s rule. Prior to the presidential election in 2000, the Government of President Guéi introduced a 1 The Republic of Côte d’Ivoire ratified the African Charter on 6 January 1992.

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