Côte d’Ivoire: Activists in hiding after wave of homophobic attacks

News
January 29, 2014

Côte d’Ivoire: Activists in hiding after wave of homophobic attacks

Authorities in Côte d’Ivoire must urgently investigate the unprecedented wave of homophobic attacks in Abidjan, which has forced many HIV workers to go into hiding, Amnesty International said.

“The only way to stop the unprecedented homophobic witch-hunt taking place in Côte d’Ivoire is for the authorities to investigate the attacks and bring those responsible to justice. Failing to do that will only lead for more violence,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, West Africa researcher at Amnesty International.

On 25 January 2014, the office of Alternative Côte d’Ivoire – an organization working for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex people (LGBTI) living with HIV -- was ransacked by a mob of around 200 people. Computers were stolen and the security officer was beaten so badly he required medical treatment.

When members of the organization contacted the police they were accused of being homosexuals and working as pimps and told that the police had more important work to do.

Earlier last week, an angry mob threw rocks and garbage at the Alternative Côte d’Ivoire office in Abidjan.  The building walls were daubed with graffiti saying “Non aux pédés (No to fags)”.

On 20 January, the house of the Director of Alternative Côte d’Ivoire, Claver Touré, was attacked in the area of Angré in Abidjan. A member of the security forces was reportedly among the attackers.

Several people working in the organization are now in hiding in fear of further attacks.

Alternative Côte d’Ivoire is an officially registered organization that works closely with the Ministry of Health.