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TITLE:  COTE D'IVOIRE HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                         
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994

                       COTE D'IVOIRE

Power in Cote d'Ivoire was concentrated in President Felix 
Houphouet-Boigny, the country's leader since independence, and 
in the political party he founded, the Democratic Party of Cote 
d'Ivoire (PDCI).  Genuine reforms have resulted in multiple 
political parties and opposition groups as well as a vigorous 
free press, but Houphouet-Boigny and the PDCI, winners of the 
1990 elections, continued to dominate all levels of 
government.  Houphouet-Boigny's 33-year rule ended with his 
death on December 7, but his legacy continued as Henri Konan 
Bedie, National Assembly President, PDCI stalwart, and 
Houphouet-Boigny's constitutionally designated successor, 
assumed the Presidency without incident.

Cote d'Ivoire's security forces include the national police 
(Surete) and the Gendarmerie, a branch of the armed forces with 
responsibility for general law enforcement.  The Gendarmerie is 
the primary police organization outside the cities and is under 
the Ministry of Defense.  The total personnel of the uniformed 
services, which includes the military forces and the gendarmes 
(but not the police), is 16,000.  The armed forces 
traditionally have accepted the primacy of civilian authority.  
Security forces were responsible for a number of human rights 
abuses in 1993, including extrajudicial killing of criminal 

Agriculture is the keystone of Cote d'Ivoire's economy.  During 
the 1980's, Cote d'Ivoire was squeezed by a heavy debt burden 
and falling prices for its exports, principally cocoa, coffee, 
and tropical woods.  Per capita annual income slipped in recent 
years from well over $1,000 to below $800.  After reaching 
agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the World 
Bank on a stabilization program in 1991, the Government reduced 
its budget deficit, instituted changes in the tax and labor 
codes, and announced an ambitious program of privatization and 
administrative reform.  Progress, however, has been slow.

The sometimes heightened political tensions of recent years 
were noticeably lower in 1993, with fewer instances of 
politically motivated abuses, such as arrests and detentions, 
travel restrictions, and harassment.  The presence of 
opposition groups, other independent organizations, and a 
vigorous free press continued to improve both awareness and 
observance of human rights on a day-to-day basis.

However, in 1993 there continued to be serious human rights 
abuses.  Members of the security forces, mainly the police and 
forest rangers (an armed unit under the authority of the 
Ministry of Agriculture), again carried out extrajudicial 
killings of criminal suspects and beat and abused detainees.  
They sometimes used beatings to extract confessions or as 
punishment.  Many of these extrajudicial actions were the 
result of the authorities relaxing restrictions in 1992 on the 
police to help combat the extremely high crime rate in 
Abidjan.  Abuse of authority by law enforcement personnel, who 
extort money at numerous roadblocks for contrived minor 
infractions from people traveling by private or public 
conveyance, is an example of the Government's failure to apply 
proper discipline to and control over law enforcement 
officials.  There continued to be serious questions about the 
independence of the Ivorian judiciary, which appeared to be 
subject to external political influences.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no known political killings by government forces in 
1993.  However, following the Government's relaxation of 
restrictions in 1992 on the use of deadly force by security 
forces against armed suspects, there were new incidents in 1993 
of the forces killing suspects during apprehension.  There were 
also repeated reports, including in the media, that the 
security forces killed alleged perpetrators after their 
arrest.  Malefactors in the security forces are punished, and 
cases against several persons remained pending in the courts at 
the end of the year.  

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of officially sanctioned abduction or 

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading
         Treatment or Punishment

Police sometimes beat detainees in order to punish them or to 
extract confessions.  Television footage and press photographs 
regularly show criminal detainees with swollen or bruised faces 
and bodies, possibly indicating police mistreatment during 
arrest or detention.  Prisoners are often treated in a 
degrading or humiliating manner.  For example, there were 
reports of prisoners held unclothed or clad only in 
undershorts, chained in pairs, and kept in cells measuring only 
4 square meters without running water or electricity.  In 
particular, non-Ivorian Africans residing in Cote d'Ivoire (who 
represent a third of the total population) are routinely 
treated more roughly by police on arrest than are Ivorians.  In 
1993 there were reported instances of officials being punished 
for mistreatment of detainees or prisoners.  The Ivorian media 
also reported several incidents of poor treatment of prisoners, 
including reports of deaths at the hands of security forces.

Sanitary conditions in prisons are abysmal and are responsible 
for a high death rate.  Common problems include overcrowding, 
malnutrition, infectious diseases, and infestation by vermin.  
In 1993 the Ivorian media published several reports on prison 
conditions, leading to severe public condemnation by human 
rights organizations and opposition political figures, many of 
whom had spent time in prison in 1992.  Following this, the 
Government took steps to upgrade prison conditions in selected 
facilities.  At Maca, the nation's largest detention facility, 
the Government rehabilitated the prison's workshop, bakery, and 
carpentry shop, and agricultural projects were introduced at 
several other prisons, allowing prisoners to grow some of their 
own food.  

A prison riot in March in Abidjan resulted in 4 prisoners 
killed and 19 wounded when police used excessive force in 
attempting to quell the riot.  

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Under the Code of Penal Procedure, a public prosecutor may 
order the detention of a suspect for up to 48 hours without 
bringing charges.  The Code dictates that longer detention must 
be ordered by a magistrate, who may authorize detention for up 
to 4 months, but who must also provide the Minister of Justice 
a written justification for continued detention on a monthly 
basis.  However, the law is often violated.  Police have held 
persons for more than 48 hours without bringing charges.  
Defendants are not guaranteed the right to a judicial 
determination of the legality of their detention.

In contrast to 1992, when the Government detained large numbers 
of political activists who had not used or advocated violence, 
no such arrests were known to have occurred in 1993. 

The Government does not use exile as a means of political 

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The modern judicial system is headed by a Supreme Court and 
includes the Court of Appeals and lower courts.  The judiciary 
is theoretically independent of the executive branch in 
ordinary criminal cases.  In practice, as well as under the 
Constitution's separation of powers provisions, the judiciary 
follows the lead of the executive in cases concerning perceived 
national security or political issues.

There is not a clear separation between the judicial and 
executive branches of government.  There are credible reports 
that the courts give lenient treatment to individuals with 
personal ties to the Government.  The Government, in turn, has 
asserted itself in matters pertaining to the judiciary; for 
example, a government official attempted at the last minute to 
cancel a long-planned judicial seminar involving both Ivorian 
and American jurists.  Though a truncated version of the 
seminar finally took place a day later than planned, the 
resulting controversy greatly reduced attendance.

Ivorian law establishes the right to a public trial, although 
key evidence is sometimes given in camera.  Defendants have the 
right to be present at their trials, and their innocence is 
presumed.  Those convicted have the right of appeal, though in 
practice verdicts are rarely overturned.  Defendants accused of 
felonies or capital crimes have the right to legal counsel, and 
the judicial system provides for court-appointed attorneys for 
indigent defendants.  In practice, many defendants cannot 
afford private counsel, and court-appointed attorneys are not 
readily available.

In rural areas, justice is often administered at the village 
level through traditional institutions which handle domestic 
disputes, minor land questions, and family law.  Dispute 
resolution is by extended debate, with no known instances of 
resort to physical punishment.  These traditional courts are 
being increasingly superseded by the formal judicial system. 

Civilians are not tried by military courts.  Although there are 
no appellate courts within the military court system, persons 
convicted by a military tribunal may petition the Supreme Court 
to set aside the tribunal's verdict and order a retrial.

There were no known political detainees or prisoners in 1993.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or

In Cote d'Ivoire's multiparty political system, citizens are 
free to join, or not join, any political party.  However, 
public officials and employees of state-owned corporations are 
subject to pressure to become members of the PDCI.  Party 
membership applications are sometimes passed to employees by 
their supervisors, and those who fail to sign up are believed 
to suffer in terms of promotion.

The Code of Penal Procedure specifies that a police official or 
investigative magistrate may conduct searches of homes without 
a judicial warrant if there is reason to believe that there is 
evidence on the premises concerning a crime.  The official must 
have the prosecutor's agreement to retain any objects seized in 
the search and is required to have witnesses to the search, 
which may not take place between the hours of 9 p.m. and 4 
a.m.  In practice, the police sometimes use a general search 
warrant without a name or address.  On occasion, the police 
have entered homes of non-Ivorian Africans (or rounded them up 
on the streets), taken them to local police stations, and 
extorted small amounts of money for alleged minor offenses.

Security forces monitor some private telephone conversations, 
but the extent of the practice is unknown.  There is no 
evidence that private correspondence is monitored.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of expression.  
Independent newspapers criticized government policies 
frequently and also made unfavorable comments concerning the 
President of the Republic.  The two government-owned daily 
newspapers offer some censure of government policy, although, 
in general, government-owned radio and television do not.  The 
opposition press, ordinary citizens, opposition political party 
leaders, and student groups voice their disapproval of 
government or Presidential actions frequently and loudly.

Although such criticism is tolerated, insults or attacks on the 
honor of the country's highest officials are not.  It is a 
crime, punishable by from 3 months to 2 years in prison, to 
offend the President, the Prime Minister, foreign chiefs of 
state or government, or their diplomatic representatives, or to 
defame institutions of the State.  Moreover, a press law 
enacted in late 1991 created a new commission to enforce laws 
against publishing material "undermining the reputation of the 
nation or defaming institutions of the State."  Although this 
law was not used to prosecute any newspaper publisher or 
journalist in 1993, it imposes stiff penalties, including the 
seizure of offending newspapers.

The Government owns both television networks--although there is 
one private television subscription service, Canal Horizon--and 
the major radio station.  There are also four independent radio 
stations operating in the Cote d'Ivoire.  The Government 
continues to exercise considerable influence over official 
media program content, news coverage, and other matters, using 
these media to promote its policies.  Much of the news 
programming is devoted to coverage of the activities of the 
President, the Government, and the PDCI, but the amount of 
coverage given to the political opposition continues to 
increase.  In 1993 the Government granted licenses to operate 
five radio stations and one television channel to private 
organizations, though none of the applicants with ties to the 
political opposition was selected.

Of the five daily newspapers, those with the widest 
circulation, Fraternite-Matin and Ivoire Soir, are government 
owned, though in 1993 both newspapers ran stories critical of 
government policies and increased significantly their coverage 
of the political opposition.  A third daily, La Voie, with 
circulation figures approaching those of the government-owned 
dailies, is owned by members of the Ivoirian Popular Front, 
Cote d'Ivoire's principal opposition party.  The fourth daily, 
Bonsoir, devotes most of its space to stories of general 
interest, and the fifth only began circulation in September.  
Most of the weekly newspapers are affiliated either with the 
ruling or opposition political parties.  Foreign publications 
circulated freely.

Many prominent Ivorian scholars are active in opposition 
politics and have not suffered professionally.  The Government 
insists, however, that teachers separate their political 
activity from their work in the classroom.  There are reports 
that the police have used informers at the University of 
Abidjan to provide data on dissident political activity.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides for freedom of assembly, but in 
practice that freedom is restricted when the Government 
perceives a danger to public order.

Although opposition parties believe that the Constitution 
permits private associations of any sort, the Government 
disagrees, and all organizations must register before 
commencing activities.  There were no reports in the past 2 
years of registration being denied.  Further, Ivorian law 
prohibits the formation of political parties along ethnic or 
religious lines.  The past several years have seen a 
proliferation of nongovernmental organizations (NGO's) 
addressing social, political, environmental, and other issues.  
In 1991 the Government made an administrative decision to ban 
the Federation of Ivorian Students (FESCI).  Though the ban 
remains in effect, it was not enforced in 1993, allowing the 
FESCI to operate openly.

Permits are required for public meetings and are sometimes 
denied to the opposition but never to the PDCI.  Gatherings 
occasionally are prohibited to prevent the expression of 
controversial views in public forums.  In February 1992, the 
Government banned all outdoor public meetings "until further 
notice"; that ban has not been rescinded, though it is no 
longer strictly enforced.

An "antivandal" law passed by the National Assembly in 1992 
holds organizers of a march or demonstration responsible if any 
of the participants engage in violence.  The law was condemned 
by all major opposition parties and by the Ivorian Human Rights 
League (LIDHO) as being unduly vague and for imposing 
collective punishment for the crimes of a few.  The law was not 
applied in 1993, although there were several instances when it 
could have been utilized, and it had no noticeable effect in 
restricting demonstrations.  

     c.  Freedom of Religion

There are no known impediments to religious expression.  There 
is no dominant religion, and no faith is officially favored by 
the Government.  The open practice of religion is permitted, 
and there are no restrictions on religious ceremonies or 

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

The Government exercises minimal control over domestic travel.  
However, one of the most pervasive hindrances to freedom of 
movement and commerce within the country is the practice of 
establishing unauthorized internal roadblocks at which 
uniformed law enforcement officials extort small amounts of 
money or goods for contrived or minor infractions by motorists 
or passengers on public conveyances.  This practice affects 
both Ivorian and foreign travelers and is a flagrant example of 
the misuse of authority and lack of discipline of law 
enforcement personnel.

Ivorians normally can travel abroad and emigrate freely, and 
they have the right of voluntary repatriation.  There are no 
known cases of revocation of citizenship.  In 1993 the 
Government twice denied permission to travel to international 
meetings to the head of the LIDHO under the pretext that he was 
neglecting his duties as dean of the university law faculty.  
For this reason he was unable to attend the World Conference on 
Human Rights in Vienna.

Cote d'Ivoire's refugee and asylum practices are liberal.  The 
Government respects the right to first asylum, and no groups 
are denied recognition as refugees, either by law or custom.  
Refugees normally receive 1-year renewable resident visas for 
their first 5 years in the country, after which they may apply 
for permanent residence.  Cote d'Ivoire does not offer 
permanent resettlement to refugees who have been granted 
temporary asylum elsewhere.  

Cote d'Ivoire currently hosts some 260,000 refugees from the 
Liberian civil war, and the Government was actively involved in 
managing Liberian refugee relief, though most resources came 
from foreign donors.  While the first influx of Liberian 
refugees received refugee status on entry, the large numbers 
that followed prompted the Government to initiate an 
application process, by which each refugee's status is 
determined by an interagency committee that includes 
representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for 
Refugees.  Those not granted refugee status are allowed to 
remain in the country but are not allowed to benefit from any 
refugee assistance programs.  Since the Government expects that 
Liberian refugees will repatriate when conditions permit, no 
provisions have been made for their attaining permanent 
residence in Cote d'Ivoire.  No cases of involuntary 
repatriation were reported in 1993. 

Political exiles from a number of countries have found Cote 
d'Ivoire a hospitable safe haven as long as they do not engage 
in political activities directed against their home governments.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens
           to Change Their Government

Citizens have this right, although many in the ruling PDCI 
continue to block needed reforms and to engage in practices 
that do not encourage further democratization.  Multiple 
parties were permitted in the 1990 presidential, legislative, 
and municipal elections whose results were generally accepted 
as legitimate, despite numerous flaws and fraud.  Although 
under the Constitution only Ivorian citizens are entitled to 
vote, the electoral law, which is promulgated for each 
election, has in recent years extended voting rights to 
non-Ivorian Africans living in Cote d'Ivoire, who constitute 
approximately one-third of the country's population.  This 
anomaly persists because only the President of the Republic and 
the President of the National Assembly have the standing to 
challenge the constitutionality of the electoral law, and 
neither has chosen to do so.  Balloting is done in secret.

The President is both Head of State and president of the PDCI.  
An appointed Prime Minister, who serves at the pleasure of the 
President, controls day-to-day governmental affairs and 
economic policy.  With 3 seats vacant, the PDCI holds 162 of 
the 175 seats in the National Assembly, which in practice is 
subordinate to the executive branch.  Effectively, therefore, 
the President and the PDCI control all aspects of Ivorian 
political life.

There are no restrictions in law or practice on the 
participation of women in politics, and they play an active 
role in Ivorian society and government.  There are two female 
Ministers in the Cabinet (Minister of Communications and 
Minister of Family and the Protection of Women) as well as a 
female director of the social security system.  Women play a 
limited but noticeable role in the legislature; while only 8 of 
the 175 deputies in the National Assembly are women, 5 of the 
36 leadership positions in the Assembly are held by females.  
Two members of the Supreme Court are women.

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations
           of Human Rights

An internal independent human rights organization, the Ivorian 
League of Human Rights (LIDHO), was formed in 1987 and was 
recognized by the Government in July 1990.  The League has 
actively investigated alleged violations of human rights and 
issued press releases and reports, some of which have been 
critical of the Government.  In 1991 the Ivorian Association 
for the Promotion of Human Rights was established for the
purpose of improving Ivorians' awareness of their basic rights.

The Government has been cooperative towards international 
inquiries into its human rights practices.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion,
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

Discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, 
or religion is against the law.  Although French is the 
official language and the language of instruction in the public 
schools, radio and television programs are also broadcast in 
major national languages.  Social and economic mobility are not 
limited by policy or custom on the basis of ethnicity or 
religion, although there are pronounced inequalities based on 
sex, with males clearly in the preponderant role.


Some Ivorian traditional societies accord women considerable 
political and economic power.  In rural areas, tribal customs 
dictate that menial tasks are performed mostly by women, 
although farm work by men is also common.  Government policy 
encourages full participation by women in social and economic 
life, but there is considerable informal resistance among 
employers in hiring women, who may be considered undependable 
by virtue of potential pregnancy.  Women are underrepresented 
in some professions and in the managerial sector as a whole.  
Women in the formal sector, however, are paid on an equal scale 
with men and also enjoy maternity benefits.  There are no 
reliable figures available on the percentage of women in the 
work force.  Several Ivorian NGO's address the legal, economic, 
and social welfare of women, and there is a government ministry 
devoted to women's affairs.

Violence against women, especially wife beating, is neither 
widely practiced nor tacitly condoned.  However, 
representatives of women's organizations state that wife 
beating does occur and often leads to divorce.   Doctors state 
that they rarely see the victims of such violence.  A severe 
social stigma is attached to such violence; neighbors will 
often intervene in a domestic quarrel to protect a woman who is 
the object of physical abuse.  The courts and police view such 
domestic violence as a family problem unless serious bodily 
harm is inflicted or the victim lodges a complaint, in which 
case criminal proceedings may take place.  The Government has 
no clear-cut policy regarding spouse abuse beyond the obvious 
strictures against violence in the Civil Code.


Cote d'Ivoire is a signatory to the U.N. International Charter 
on Human Rights, which contains sections promoting the health 
and education of children, and its Penal Code contains sections 
protecting children from infanticide and other violence and 
abandonment.  The Ministries of Social Affairs and of Health 
and Social Protection are both charged with safeguarding the 
welfare of children, and the Government has also encouraged the 
formation of NGO's centered on children's issues, such as the 
Abidjan Legal Center for the Defense of Children.  

There is a parental preference for educating boys rather than 
girls, which is noticeable throughout the country but more 
pronounced in rural areas.  According to a 1991 U.N. report, 
females in Cote d'Ivoire receive only one-third of the 
schooling of males.  Sexual harassment of female students by 
male teachers is commonplace. 

Female genital mutilation is illegal in Cote d'Ivoire but is 
nevertheless practiced, particularly among the rural population 
in the north and west.  The operation is usually performed on 
young girls or at puberty as part of a rite of passage; it is 
generally done outside modern medical facilities and may be 
extremely painful and dangerous to health.  The Government does 
not make strong efforts to prevent the practice, and social 
pressures are sufficiently intense that it persists, 
particularly in small villages, where the chief is the primary 
decisionmaker and village elders hold great influence.  
According to an independent expert in the field, the percentage 
of Ivorian women who have undergone genital mutilation may be 
as high as 60 percent.  Excision is becoming less common as the 
population becomes urbanized and better educated.

     People with Disabilities

There are no laws mandating accessibility for the disabled.  
Laws do exist prohibiting the abandonment of the mentally or 
physically handicapped, as well as acts of violence directed at 
them.  Traditional practices, beliefs, and superstitions vary, 
but infants with serious disabilities have usually not been 
allowed to live, though this has changed since independence in 
1960.  The above laws were designed to combat this traditional 
practice and have resulted in some curtailment in the practice 
in recent years.  Disabled adults are not the specific targets 
of abuse, but it is difficult for them to compete with 
able-bodied workers in the tight job market.  The Government 
supports special schools, associations, and artisans' 
cooperatives for the disabled.  The Ministry of Health and 
Social Protection has been working since 1992 on legislation to 
protect the rights of the disabled.  The media increasingly 
addressed the issue in 1993, citing progress made but calling 
for more to be done.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Workers have the right to form unions under the Labor Code of 
1964, but union membership is not mandatory.  For almost 30 
years, the government-sponsored labor confederation, the 
General Union of Workers of Cote d'Ivoire (UGTCI), dominated 
union activity, except for the independent university 
teachers', secondary school teachers', and doctors' unions.  In 
1991 several formerly UGTCI-affiliated unions, including those 
representing transport, media, customs, and bank workers, broke 
away and became independent.  In 1992 a total of 11 formerly 
independent unions joined together to form the Federation of 
Autonomous Trade Unions of Cote d'Ivoire (FESCACI).  A third 
labor federation, Dignite, has attracted few members.  The 
leader of the UGTCI occupies a senior position in the PDCI 

The UGTCI is a relatively passive coordination mechanism rather 
than an active force for worker rights, although it has had 
some success in improving working conditions and safety 
standards.  The UGTCI represents approximately one-third to 
one-half of the organizable work force.  Non-UGTCI unions tend 
to be more activist than those within the UGTCI structure and 
to be identified with opposition causes.

The Government's response to its loss of control over the labor 
movement has been to create rival unions in important sectors, 
such as university faculty, post and telecommunications, public 
transport, and radio and television, and to grant these unions 
special economic concessions.  The World Confederation of Labor 
(WCL) charges that the Government sought to prevent a landslide 
victory of the WCL's Ivorian affiliate, Dignite, in national 
trade union elections in early 1993 by imposing a single 
election ticket of UGTCI in major enterprises and the port of 
Abidjan.  These and other complaints alleging antiunion 
discrimination, intimidation, and denial of recognition of 
Dignite, as well as the harassment and arrest of leaders of the 
independent teachers' union, Synares, during the period 
1990-92, continued under investigation by the International 
Labor Organization (ILO) Committee on Freedom of Association in 
1993.  The Government did not repress union activities or 
detain any union officials in 1993, but some of the 
participants in a 1991 protest march, who were alleged to have 
destroyed property, remain in detention.  The Government 
officially recognized Dignite in 1993.  

The right to strike is provided by the Constitution and by 
statute.  The ILO's Committee of Experts in 1993, however, 
reiterated earlier observations that the Labor Code gives the 
President excessive power to submit an industrial dispute to 
compulsory arbitration in order to bring an end to a strike.  
The Labor Code requires a protracted series of negotiations and 
a 6-day notification period before a strike may be held, 
effectively making legal strikes difficult to organize.  
Strikes are seldom called by the UGTCI; however, non-UGTCI 
unions freely strike.  In 1993 hospital employees, 
telecommunications and postal workers, teachers, railroad 
employees, and staff at the Presidency and at a scientific 
research institute held strikes.  Each of these strikes 
involved public sector workers.  In each instance, the 
Government was able to meet some, although not all, of the 
demands presented by the unions, and the strikes were called 
off.  In some cases, these unions went out on strike more than 
once during the year to protest arrearages in payment of 
salaries or other benefits that had been promised during 
earlier negotiations.  Strikes in December involved teachers 
and electrical and health workers and were called off as a mark 
of respect after President Houphouet-Boigny's death was 
announced December 7, though agitation by university students 

The UGTCI, which is a member of the Organization of African 
Trade Union Unity, formally prohibits its individual trade 
unions from forming or maintaining affiliations with other 
international organizations in their fields.  Non-UGTCI unions 
and confederations may freely affiliate with international 
bodies, as is the case of Dignite with its WCL affiliation.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The Labor Code grants all Ivorians the right to join unions and 
to bargain collectively.  Collective bargaining agreements are 
in effect in many major business enterprises and sectors of the 
civil service.  In most cases in which wages are not 
established in direct negotiations between unions and 
employers, salaries are set by job categories by the Ministry 
of Employment and Civil Service.  Labor inspectors have the 
responsibility to enforce a law which prohibits antiunion 
discrimination.  Nonetheless, the ILO is reviewing charges that 
the Government practices such discrimination.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There have been no reports of forced labor, which is prohibited 
by law.  However, the ILO's Committee of Experts in its annual 
report questioned a decree that places certain categories of 
prisoners at the disposal of private enterprises for work 
assignments without their apparent consent.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

In most instances, the legal minimum working age is 16, and the 
Ministry of Employment and Civil Service enforces this 
provision effectively in the civil service and in large 
multinational companies.  Ivorian labor law limits the hours of 
young workers, defined as those under 18, compared to the 
regular work force.  However, children often work on family 
farms, and in cities some children routinely act as vendors in 
the informal sector.  There are also reports of children 
working in what could be described as sweatshop conditions in 
small workshops.  Many children leave the formal school system 
at an early age; primary education is mandatory but far from 
universally enforced, particularly in rural areas.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Cote d'Ivoire has administratively determined monthly minimum 
wage rates which were last adjusted in January 1986.  A 
slightly higher rate applies to construction workers.  Minimum 
wage rates are enforced only with respect to salaried workers 
employed by the Government or registered with the Social 
Security Office.  Minimum wages vary according to occupation, 
with the lowest set at approximately $115 (CFA Francs 33,279) 
per month, insufficient to provide a decent standard of living 
for a worker and family.  The majority of Ivorians work in 
agriculture or in the informal sector where the minimum wage 
does not apply.

Through the Ministry of Employment and the Civil Service, the 
Government enforces a comprehensive Labor Code governing the 
terms and conditions of service for wage earners and salaried 
workers and providing for occupational safety and health 
standards.  Those employed in the formal sector are reasonably 
protected against unjust compensation, excessive hours, and 
arbitrary discharge from employment.  The standard legal 
workweek is 40 hours.  The law requires overtime payment on a 
graduated scale for additional hours.  The Ivorian Labor Code 
provides for at least one 24-hour rest period per week.

Government labor inspectors are empowered to order employers to 
improve substandard conditions and, if the employer fails to 
comply, fines may be levied by a labor court.  In the large 
informal sector of the economy, however, involving both urban 
and rural workers, the Government's occupational health and 
safety regulations are enforced erratically at best.  Ivorian 
workers in the formal sector have the right, under the Labor 
Code, to remove themselves from dangerous work without jeopardy 
to continued employment by utilizing the Ministry of Labor 
inspection system to document dangerous workplace conditions.  
However, workers in the informal sector are unlikely to be able 
to remove themselves from such labor without losing their 

[end of document]


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