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Côte d'Ivoire: The Rassemblement des républicains (RDR), including its links to the Rassemblement des houphouétistes pour la démocratie et la paix (RHDP), its position in the political arena and the treatment of the RHDP and RDR members by the authorities

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date 9 June 2010
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Côte d'Ivoire: The Rassemblement des républicains (RDR), including its links to the Rassemblement des houphouétistes pour la démocratie et la paix (RHDP), its position in the political arena and the treatment of the RHDP and RDR members by the authorities, 9 June 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dd20fc32.html [accessed 16 September 2014]
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Creation of the Rally of the Republicans (Rassemblement des républicains, RDR) and its links to the Rally of the Houphouetistes for Democracy and Peace (Rassemblement des houphouétistes pour la démocratie et la paix, RHDP)

According to two sources consulted by the Research Directorate, the RDR is a political party founded in September 1994 (US Nov. 2009; RDR n.d.). Its president is Alassane Ouattara (Afrik.com 22 Feb. 2010; Le Nouveau Réveil 16 Feb. 2010; UNOCI 11 March 2010), a former Prime Minister of Côte d'Ivoire (AFP 4 March 2010; Le Monde 20 Feb. 2010). The RDR belongs to a coalition of political parties-the RHDP-which includes the Democratic Party of Côte d'Ivoire (Parti démocratique de Côte d'Ivoire), the African Democratic Rally (Rassemblement démocratique africain, PDCI-RDA), the Movement of the Forces of the Future (Mouvement des forces d'avenir, MFA) and the Union for Democracy and Peace in Côte d'Ivoire (Union pour la démocratie et la paix en Côte d'Ivoire, UDPCI) (Le Nouveau Réveil 16 Feb. 2010; Notre Voie 28 April 282010; AM 1 March 2009). This coalition was reportedly founded in France in 2005 (Notre Voie 28 April 2010).

RDR's position in the Ivorian political arena

In correspondence sent to the Research Directorate on 4 May 2010, the director of the Amnesty International (AI) section in Côte d'Ivoire stated that, like members of a number of opposition parties, some RDR members [translation] "occupy…senior government positions." According to numerous sources consulted by the Research Directorate, the ministers of agriculture; of family, women and social affairs; of higher education and scientific research; and of new technologies, information and communication are RDR members (AFP 4 March 2010; APA 4 March 2010; Connectionivoirienne.net 4 March 2010; RFI 4 March 2010). According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the RDR won five seats out of 223 in the 2000 legislative elections (IPU n.d.).

Treatment of RHDP and RDR members by the authorities

Sources indicate that, in February 2010, four or five people were killed and a number of others wounded in the central-western town of Gagnoa during clashes between security forces and RHDP activists calling for the restoration of the Independent Electoral Commission (Commission électorale indépendante, CEI), but there is no indication as to which side the casualties were on (PANA 20 Feb. 2010; Le Monde 20 Feb. 2010; see also Jeune Afrique 23 Feb. 2010). The CEI was dissolved by President Laurent Gbagbo on 12 February 2010 (ibid.), and was reinstated shortly thereafter under the RHDP as before (AFP 4 March 2010). According to an article in the 23 February 2010 issue of Jeune Afrique, other clashes in the western town of Daloa caused two deaths. PANApress (PANA) reported that, according to unidentified sources close to the opposition, security forces fired live ammunition at demonstrators during these confrontations (20 Feb. 2010). In an interview with Afrik.com regarding, among other things, the demonstrations in Côte d'Ivoire in February 2010, a political scientist and sociologist at the Paris-based Centre for Conflict Studies (Centre d'études sur les conflits) stated that [translation] "the security forces do not have the training or appropriate equipment to control the demonstrations and, unfortunately, they fire live ammunition" (20 Feb. 2010). PANA reported that demonstrators attacked local government offices and some offices of the governing Ivorian Popular Front (Front populaire ivoirien, FPI) in other towns, such as Abengourou, Dimbokro and Bondoukou, before being dispersed by security forces (PANA 20 Feb. 2010). As well, according to an article in the 28 January 2010 edition of the Burkina Faso daily L'Observateur Paalga, in January 2010, the youth of the Rally of Houphouetistes for Democracy and Peace (Jeunesse du Rassemblement des houphouétistes pour la démocratie et la paix, JRHDP) organized a demonstration against the monopolization of public media by allies of President Laurent Gbagbo and demanded fair and balanced access to State organs for all political parties. Corroborating information could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

Regarding the treatment of RDR members by the Ivorian authorities, the director of the Amnesty International (AI) section in Côte d'Ivoire wrote the following in correspondence to the Research Directorate on 4 May 2010:

[Translation]

Since the signing of the Ouagadougou political agreement by the opposing sides [President Gbagbo and the secretary general of the New Forces (Forces Nouvelles)], there has been a period of calm in the country. To be sure, the human rights situation is not ideal, but the general view among my various colleagues in Côte d'Ivoire is that there is no persecution or discriminatory treatment of members of the RDR at this time.

However, the Human Rights Watch report on Côte d'Ivoire stated, without providing details, that in August 2008, some young government supporters attacked a hotel where the secretary general of the RDR was staying (Human Rights Watch 2009). According to the US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009, a teacher and RDR activist was arrested by members of the security operations command centre (CECOS) in September 2009 and held for about one month at the Abidjan correctional facility and penitentiary (Maison d'arrêt et de correction d'Abidjan, MACA) for "attempting to overthrow the government" (US 11 March 2010, s. 1.c). According to the RDR's secretary for human rights, who visited him in October, his body was scarred from the beatings he received while in detention (ibid.). Further information on the treatment of RDR members by the Ivorian authorities could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Afrik.com. 22 February 2010. Stéphanie Plasse. "Manoeuvres politiques en Côte d'Ivoire." [Accessed 28 April 2010]

Afrique Magazine (AM). 1 March 2009. Venance Konan. "Ado peut-il être élu?" [Accessed 5 May 2010]

Agence France-Presse (AFP). 4 March 2010. "Côte d'Ivoire : l'opposition entre au gouvernement, fin de 3 semaines de crise." (Africa n°1) [Accessed 23 April 2010]

Agence de presse africaine (APA). 4 March 2010. "Liste du gouvernement ivoirien avec l'entrée de l'opposition." (Afrique Avenir) [Accessed 30 April 2010]

Amnesty International (AI). 4 May 2010. Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate from the director of the Côte d'Ivoire section.

Connectionivoirienne.net. 4 March 2010. "Gouvernement Soro II : la liste des nouveaux ministres connue." [Accessed 26 April 2010]

Human Rights Watch. January 2009. "Côte d'Ivoire." World Report 2009: Events of 2008. [Accessed 26 April 2010]

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). N.d. "Cote d'Ivoire: Assemblée nationale (National Assembly)" [Accessed 17 May 2010]

Jeune Afrique. 23 February 2010. "Accord à l'arraché sous l'égide de Compaoré." [Accessed 30 April 2010]

Le Monde [Paris]. 20 February 2010. Christophe Châtelot. "En Côte d'Ivoire, des gendarmes tirent sur des opposants." [Accessed 26 April 2010]

Notre Voie [Abidjan]. 28 April 2010. Didier Depry. "Côte d'Ivoire : un président démocrate, une opposition violente." (AllAfrica.com) [Accessed 3 May 2010]

Le Nouveau Réveil [Abidjan]. 16 February 2010. Paul Koffi. "Côte d'Ivoire : situation socio-politique/les leaders du Rhdp haussent le ton- ‘la priorité pour nous, c'est le règlement du problème de la CEI et non le gouvernement.'" (AllAfrica.com) [Accessed 30 April 2010]

L'Observateur Paalga [Ouagadougou]. 28 January 2010. San Evariste Barro. "Accès des opposants aux médias publics : un abcès africain qu'il faut crever." (Le Fasonet) [Accessed 4 May 2010]

PANApress (PANA). 20 February 2010. "Côte d'Ivoire : une manifestation fait 4 morts à Gagnoa." (Afrique en ligne) [Accessed 28 April 2010]

Radio France internationale (RFI). 4 March 2010. "Le nouveau gouvernement au complet" [Accessed 5 May 2010]

Rassemblement des républicains (RDR). N.d. "Historique du parti." [Accessed 30 April 2010]

United Nations. 11 March 2010. United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI). "Côte d'Ivoire: UNOCI Chief and RDR Chairman Discuss Electoral Process." [Accessed 30 April 2010]

United States (US). 11 March 2010. Department of State. "Côte d'Ivoire." Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009. [Accessed 26 April 2010]

_____. November 2009. Department of State. "Background Note: Cote d'Ivoire." [Accessed 26 April 2010]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Attempts to contact the president of the Ivorian League for Human Rights (Ligue ivoirienne des droits de l'homme, LIDHO), the office of the United Nations Operation in Côte d'Ivoire (UNOCI) and members of the Rally of the Republicans (Rassemblement des républicains, RDR) executive in Abidjan were unsuccessful.

Publications: Political Parties of the World 2009.

Internet sites, including: African Press Organization (APO), Afrol News, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l'homme (FIDH), Le Figaro [Paris], Freedom House, InfoSud Belgique (InfoSud), Grioo.com, L'Indépendant [Ouagadougou], Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Internationale de l'éducation (IE), Organisation internationale de la francophonie (OIF), Organisation mondiale contre la torture (OMCT), Presse de la nation [Douala], Réseau des médias francophones (MEDIAF), Reuters, Voice of America (VOA).

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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