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TITLE:  COTE D'IVOIRE HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                         COTE D'IVOIRE


From independence until 1990, President Felix Houphouet-Boigny 
and his Democratic Party of Cote d'Ivoire (PDCI), the only 
legal political party, ruled Cote d'Ivoire.  The PDCI continued 
its political dominance in the first multiparty presidential 
and legislative elections in 1990, winning 165 of the 175 
National Assembly seats in elections that were marred by 
irregularities (see Section 3).

In 1993 Houphouet died and was replaced by his constitutional 
successor, National Assembly President Henri Konan Bedie.  The 
Constitution calls for Bedie to serve out the rest of 
Houphouet's term, which ends in October 1995.

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 armed forces 
traditionally have accepted the primacy of civilian authority.  
Security forces, including Special Anti-crime Police Brigade 
(SAVAC), were responsible for a number of human rights abuses 
in 1994.

The Ivorian economy, largely market based but heavily dependent 
on the agricultural sector, has performed poorly in recent 
years, owing to low prices for its principal exports:  cocoa, 
coffee, and tropical woods.  High population growth coupled 
with economic decline resulted in a steady fall of living 
standards; Gross National Product per capita in 1994 was about 
$515.  The devaluation of the currency, the CFA franc, 
benefited exports while penalizing consumers.  A majority of 
the population is dependent on smallholder cash crop production.

Despite a peaceful, constitutional, presidential succession in 
December 1993, serious human rights abuses continued in 1994.  
Members of the security forces carried out many extrajudicial 
killings of criminal suspects and beat and abused detainees.  
The Government failed to bring to justice perpetrators of these 
abuses.  Prison conditions are poor and in some instances 
brutal.  Police arrested and detained student leaders without 
trial following student strikes in May and imprisoned several 
journalists for criticizing the Government and Chief of State.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no known politically motivated killings by 
government forces or reported deaths in official custody from 
unnatural causes.  However, as violent crime increased, the 
security forces frequently resorted to lethal force.  Credible 
reports indicate that SAVAC, in hot pursuit of armed criminals, 
killed three apparently innocent young men without warning 
during a raid in June.  Best estimates put the number of 
persons killed by SAVAC and the regular police at 47.  The 
Government prosecuted no SAVAC or police personnel for these 
killings.

Occasionally the Government has punished malefactors in the 
security forces.  In July a police officer who had injured a 
woman and two children in 1992 was tried, sentenced to 5-years' 
imprisonment; later that month, another officer was sentenced 
to 10 years for killing a suspect he was pursuing.  However, 
these are exceptions to the rule; many offenders are not tried.

     b.  Disappearance

There were no reports of officially sanctioned abduction or 
disappearance.

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

Police sometimes beat detainees or prisoners in order to punish 
them or to extract confessions.  There were no reports of 
government officials being tried for these abuses.

A jurists' union official reported interviewing prisoners who 
were beaten to obtain their confessions and who were afraid to 
press charges against the police officers involved.  Television 
footage and press photographs regularly show criminal detainees 
with swollen or bruised faces and bodies, a likely indicator of 
police mistreatment during arrest or detention.

The acting secretary general of the students' union FESCI 
stated that during his 2-week detention in May police 
physically abused him, employing beatings and sleep 
deprivation.  A journalist imprisoned by the Republican Guard 
stated that they beat him during his detention.  Police 
routinely treat non-Ivorian Africans residing in Cote d'Ivoire 
(who represent a third of the total population) more roughly 
than Ivorians.

During incarceration, neither the FESCI leader nor the other 24 
students detained with him were allowed visitors.  Although the 
law prohibits it, police restrict access to some prisoners.

Harsh prison conditions include overcrowding, malnutrition, 
infectious disease, and infestation by vermin, and are 
responsible for a high prison death rate.  Several journalists 
released during the year reported that certain white-collar 
prisoners are accorded special treatment.  Officials denied the 
Ivorian Human Rights League (LIDHO) and other human rights 
groups access to the prison in 1994.

According to a LIDHO report, conditions at the main prison of 
Abidjan are especially brutal for women, with violent and 
nonviolent criminals, as well as minors, housed together.  
There are no health facilities for women, and a number of women 
have reportedly given birth at the prison without medical 
attention.  There are reports of women being raped by fellow 
prisoners and guards.

     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.  A magistrate may order detention up to 4 
months but 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.  According to 
a representative of a jurists' union, this practice is common, 
and often magistrates are not able to verify that those not 
charged are released.  Defendants are not guaranteed the right 
to a judicial determination of the legality of their 
detention.  A judge may release pretrial detainees on bail if 
the judge believes that the suspect will not flee.  However, 
according to LIDHO, many prisoners are detained for long 
periods, sometimes years, awaiting trial.  While exact 
statistics are lacking, pretrial detainees probably make up 10 
percent of the prison population.

Detainees, particularly those arrested for opposition to the 
Government, are not always brought to trial.  Following 
disturbances in Bouake in March, police arrested six students.  
Only one was tried and sentenced; the others were held in 
preventive detention, then released in June.  In May, according 
to LIDHO, the authorities arrested 192 students following a 
confrontation between police and the students' union, FESCI.  
Police released the students within 48 hours without charging 
them.  Subsequently, security forces detained 25 members of the 
executive bureau of FESCI without charge for 2 weeks at the 
Gendarme training school, holding them incommunicado.  It 
released student leaders after the acting secretary general of 
FESCI apologized to the Government.  He later stated publicly 
that officials had coerced him to apologize.  During the year, 
police arrested other students including two following a march 
in early November.  In September the police detained a 
journalist for 5 days without charge.  There are no accurate 
statistics on the total number of arbitrary arrests.

Exile is not used as a means of political control.

     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, the judiciary follows 
the lead of the executive in national security or political 
cases.

There is not a clear separation between the judicial and 
executive branches of government.  There are credible reports 
that those with ties to the opposition are treated more harshly 
by the judicial system than those with ties to the Government.  
Judges serve at the pleasure of the executive and are therefore 
likely to bend to political pressure.  One jurist claims that 
he was transferred out of Abidjan because of his public appeals 
for a more independent judiciary.

Ivorian law establishes the right to a public trial, although 
key evidence is sometimes given in camera, the presumption of 
innocence, and the right of defendants to be present at their 
trials.  Those convicted also have the right of appeal, 
although courts rarely overturn verdicts.  Indeed, in the case 
of a Bouake student who appealed a 1-year sentence in May, the 
Appeals Court increased it to 2 years.  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, traditional institutions often administer 
justice at the village level, handling domestic disputes, minor 
land questions, and family law.  Dispute resolution is by 
extended debate, with no known instances of resort to physical 
punishment.  The formal court system is increasingly 
superseding these traditional courts.

Military courts do not try civilians.  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 1994.

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

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 9 p.m. and 4 a.m.  In 
practice, police sometimes use a general search warrant without 
a name or address.  On occasion, 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 have reportedly monitored some private 
telephone conversations, but the extent of the practice is 
unknown.  There is no evidence that private written 
correspondence is monitored.

In Cote d'Ivoire's multiparty political system, citizens are 
free to join, or not join, any political party.  However, the 
State has reportedly transferred government employees (e.g., 
teachers) active in the opposition because of their political 
activities.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

Although the Constitution provides for freedom of expression, 
and nongovernment newspapers frequently criticized government 
policies, the Government imposes significant restrictions.  The 
two government-owned daily newspapers offer little criticism of 
government policy, while government-owned radio and television 
offer none at all.  Moreover, while the opposition press, 
opposition political party leaders, and student groups voice 
their disapproval of government or presidential actions 
frequently and sometimes loudly, the Government does not 
tolerate what it considers insults or attacks on the honor of 
the country's highest officials.  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 1991 press law created a new commission 
to enforce laws against publishing material "undermining the 
reputation of the nation or defaming institutions of the State."

The Bedie administration used the press law to silence direct 
criticism of the President and of other government officials.  
In February a court sentenced a newspaper publisher to 1 year 
in prison for publishing an article which unflatteringly 
compared President Bedie to his predecessor; Bedie pardoned the 
publisher in July.

In March courts sentenced five opposition journalists to 1 year 
in prison and imposed a fine for printing an article based on a 
report in a foreign publication which suggested that President 
Bedie had asked the French Government to finance his 
predecessor's funeral.  Although the authorities never actually 
confined the journalists, the sentence remains.  In May courts 
sentenced David Gogbe, editor of a weekly newspaper, to 1 year 
in prison for defamation when he suggested that a high-ranking 
government official was implicated in a murder.  The Government 
pardoned Gogbe in December.

The Government has also used the press law to counter 
opposition journalists and to stifle investigations into 
"sensitive" national security issues.  The authorities arrested 
the publisher and a journalist from La Voie, a daily newspaper 
associated with the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI), in April for 
publishing an article calling for civil disobedience using 
legal means.  The two received sentences of 3 years in prison 
for disturbing the public order and inciting revolt.  The 
publisher, who is also the second ranking official of the FPI, 
lost his final appeal to the Ivorian Supreme Court in 
November.  The two were released from prison on December 16 as 
part of a general Christmas amnesty.  In September a journalist 
from Soir-Info, writing an investigative article on the 
Republican Guard, was incarcerated for 8 days before police 
released him.  The journalist was not charged until 4 days 
after his arrest; the charges were later dropped.

In December police in Agnibilikrou arrested journalist 
Frederick Konate Ousmane while he was researching an article on 
the family origins of President Bedie.  Police took Ousmane to 
the Abidjan headquarters, interrogated him, and released him 
the following day on orders from Security Minister Kone.

The Government owns both television networks and a major radio 
station.  There are also four nongovernment radio stations and 
a private television subscription service, Canal Horizon.  
While the independent stations have complete control over their 
editorial content, 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.

Many prominent Ivorian scholars are active in opposition 
politics and have not suffered professionally, although some 
teachers and professors suggest that they have been transferred 
because of their political activities.  The student union 
reports that the police have used informers at the University 
of Abidjan to provide data on dissident political activity.  In 
April and May FESCI members accused the police of using student 
informers to indicate prominent members of FESCI to the police.

     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.  Opposition parties assert 
that the Constitution permits private associations to form 
without registration.  The Government rejects this 
interpretation and requires all organizations to register 
before commencing activities.  There were no reports in the 
past 3 years of denial of registration.  Ivorian law prohibits 
the formation of political parties along ethnic or religious 
lines.  In 1991 the Government banned FESCI for failure to 
register properly.  The ban was never rescinded, although FESCI 
was allowed to operate openly until May.  At that time, the 
Government again insisted that the organization was banned, 
arresting several members of its executive bureau (see Section 
1.d.).

Permits are required for public meetings and are sometimes 
denied to the opposition, but never to the ruling PDCI.  Police 
occasionally prohibit gatherings to prevent the expression of 
controversial views.  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.  
LIDHO and all major opposition parties condemned the law as 
unduly vague and as one which imposed collective punishment for 
the crimes of a few.  Following the arrest of two opposition 
journalists, leaders of the Ivorian Popular Front canceled an 
announced protest march in April, saying they feared arrest 
under the antivandal law.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

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

Nevertheless, certain segments of the Muslim community feel 
targeted for discrimination (see also Section 5).  An incident 
in which police arrested 11 persons in a clash at an Abidjan 
mosque in June especially outraged Muslims.  The National 
Islamic Council reported that the police were performing 
identification checks during prayer time on Friday and that 
they used undue force.  A Commission of Inquiry, which included 
representatives of the National Islamic Council, found in 
August that police had ceased identification checks and used 
only necessary force in self-defense.  Many Muslims also resent 
what they see as undue interference by the Government in 
Islamic affairs.

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

While the Government does not generally restrict internal 
travel, uniformed police regularly extort small amounts of 
money or goods for contrived or minor infractions by motorists 
or passengers on public conveyances.  The Government has made 
no visible effort to stop this misuse of authority.

Ivorians normally may travel abroad and emigrate freely, and 
have the right of voluntary repatriation.  There are no known 
cases of revocation of citizenship.  However, the Government 
sometimes restricts foreign travel for political reasons.  In 
1993 the Government twice refused the president of LIDHO 
permission to travel to conferences abroad.  However, it did 
not prevent him from traveling to Rwanda and Geneva in 1994 as 
the United Nations Special Rapporteur.

Cote d'Ivoire's refugee and asylum practices are liberal.  The 
Government respects the right to first asylum and does not deny 
recognition to refugees, either by law or custom.  Cote 
d'Ivoire currently hosts some 350,000 refugees from the 
Liberian civil war.  No cases of involuntary repatriation were 
reported in 1994.

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

Whether citizens have the ability to exercise this 
constitutional right in practice is not yet known.  Multiparty 
elections were first permitted in 1990.  While opposition 
parties ultimately acquiesced in the results, which gave 165  
of the 175 National Assembly seats to the PDCI, the elections 
were flawed.  Before the presidential elections, the National 
Assembly effectively restricted the number of candidates by 
imposing the stringent requirement that each candidate must pay 
a large deposit (approximately $80,000), refundable only if the 
candidate received more than 10 percent of the vote in the 
first round of balloting.  Opposition parties, which became 
legal only in May 1990, charged that they had inadequate time 
to prepare for elections held from October through December of 
the same year.  Further, they faced onerous restrictions on 
holding meetings and demonstrations and unequal access to the 
state-controlled media.  There were numerous complaints by 
opposition parties of ballot-box stuffing, procedural 
irregularities, and polling places that were fictitious or 
belatedly designated.  In the legislative elections, the names 
of well over 100 duly registered candidates did not appear on 
the ballot.

Elections are held every 5 years, with the next round scheduled 
for 1995; the balloting is 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.  Two opposition parties, 
the Ivorian Popular Front (FPI) and the Ivorian Workers' Party 
(PIT), originally won seats in the National Assembly.  A third 
opposition party, the Rally of Republicans (RDR), broke away in 
1994 from the ruling PDCI, taking an additional nine deputies 
away from the PDCI.  While active and vocal, the opposition is 
not yet well enough represented to act as an effective 
counterweight to the powerful Presidency and the domination of 
PDCI.

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.  Two cabinet ministers 
are women, but women play a limited role in the National 
Assembly, holding only 8 of the 175 seats.  Women hold 5 of the 
36 leadership positions in the Assembly.  Two members of the 
Supreme Court are women.

There are no impediments to the exercise of political rights by 
any one of the over 60 ethnic groups.

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

LIDHO, formed in 1987 and recognized by the Government in July 
1990, has actively investigated alleged violations of human 
rights and issued press releases and reports, some critical of 
the Government.

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, but in practice women occupy a 
clearly subordinate role in society.

     Women

In rural areas, ethnic customs dictate that women perform most 
menial tasks, 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, whom they consider 
less dependable 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.

Representatives of women's organizations state that wife 
beating--while not widespread--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 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 they may initiate criminal 
proceedings.  The Ivorian Association for the Protection of 
Women has been concerned by the indifference of authorities to 
female victims of violence and by reports that women who are 
the subject of rape or domestic violence are often ignored or 
mistreated when they attempt to bring the violence to the 
attention of the police.  The Government has no clear-cut 
policy regarding spouse abuse beyond the obvious strictures 
against violence in the Civil Code.

     Children

The Ministries of Social Affairs and of Health and Social 
Protection seek to safeguard the welfare of children, and the 
Government has also encouraged the formation of nongovernmental 
organizations, 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 (FGM) is illegal in Cote d'Ivoire but 
is nevertheless practiced, particularly among the rural 
population in the north and west.  The procedure 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 traditional authorities in rural areas continue 
to uphold it.  According to an independent expert in the field, 
as many as 60 percent of Ivorian women have undergone FGM.  The 
practice 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 enjoining acts of violence 
directed at them.  Traditional practices, beliefs, and 
superstitions vary, but infanticide in cases of serious birth 
disabilities is less commonplace.  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.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

Workers have the legal right to form unions.  For almost 30 
years, the government-sponsored labor confederation, the 
General Union of Workers of Cote d'Ivoire (UGTCI), dominated 
most union activity.  The UGTCI's hold on the labor movement 
loosened in 1991 when several formerly UGTCI-affiliated unions 
broke away and became independent.  In 1992, 11 formerly 
independent unions joined together to form the Federation of 
Autonomous Trade Unions of Cote d'Ivoire (FESCACI).  Unions are 
freely allowed to join these and other groups and international 
bodies.  Registration of a new union requires 3 months under 
Ivorian law.

The right to strike is provided by the Constitution and by 
statute.  The Labor Code requires a protracted series of 
negotiations and a 6-day notification period before a strike 
may take place, effectively making legal strikes difficult to 
organize.  The UGTCI seldom calls strikes.  Non-UGTCI unions 
frequently called strikes in the past.

     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.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

There were no reports of forced labor, which is prohibited by 
law.  However, the ILO's Committee of Experts in its 1993 
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 some children routinely act as vendors in the 
informal sector in cities.  There are reliable reports of some 
use of child labor in informal sector mining and also of 
children working in "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

The Government administratively determines monthly minimum wage 
rates, which were last adjusted following devaluation of the 
CFA franc in January 1994.  A slightly higher minimum wage rate 
applies for construction workers.  The Government enforces the 
minimum wage rates only for 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 $70 (CFA francs 36,307) per month, which is 
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 can order employers to improve 
substandard conditions, and a labor court can levy fines if the 
employer fails to comply.  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 working conditions.  However, workers in 
the informal sector cannot ordinarily remove themselves from 
such labor without losing their employment.


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[end of document]

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