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OHCHR in Guinea (2010-2011)


Human Rights context

OHCHR signed a Host Country Agreement with the Government of Guinea on 4 May 2010, relating to the establishment of a Country Office in Guinea. The reinforcement of OHCHR’s presence in the country was recommended in the report of the International Commission of Inquiry mandated to establish the facts and circumstances of the events of 28 September 2009, when the Guinean security forces opened fire during a public demonstration, killing more than 130 people. The Office is tasked with monitoring the human rights situation in the country; conducting advocacy activities to increase the level of human rights protection; building and strengthening the capacities of national institutions and civil society organization with respect to protection and promotion of human rights. It works in collaboration with the UN Country Team, national and local authorities, civil society organizations and both national and international human rights NGOs.

In 2009, after a period of great instability during which grave violations of human rights were committed by government officials, most notably during the 28 September events, elections were finally held in Guinea.While the first round of the presidential elections, organized on 27 June 2010, was considered peaceful, tension increased in the aftermath and the elections’ run off were postponed several times. The second round was held on 7 November 2010 and as the country was waiting for the release of the provisional election results by the electoral commission, violence spread out in the capital Conakry. Security forces were reported to have used excessive force and resorted to live fire, killing at least four people and injuring over 300 others.

On 3 December, the Court officially confirmed the election of President Alpha Conde, candidate of the RPD party. The opposing candidate, Cellou Dalein Diallo conceded victory and called for a peaceful transition to democracy. The new President formed a cabinet in January 2011.

Civil and political rights have been repeatedly violated in Guinea. Armed forces have on several occasions committed gross human rights abuses in pursuit of suppressing public protests. Particularly heavy handed approaches were adopted during incidents occurring in June 2006, January and February 2007 and in September 2009. The impunity of those that took place in September 2009 and numerous violations during the elections remains a serious matter for concern.

Restrictions to the participation to the political life, as well as abuses of the international standards for arrest, detention and prosecution have been constantly denounced by the international community and local organizations and activists. Moreover, discrimination, sexual and gender-based violence, harmful traditional practices need to be urgently addressed. Serious concerns remain in particular with the impunity of the authors of serious past abuses including those perpetrated in September 2009 and of numerous human rights violations committed during the electoral process. In this regard, a positive development has been the commitment of the new President to the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission to address past human rights abuses and ensure accountability.

Similarly, efforts need to be made to ensure realization of economic, social and cultural rights. Access to health, nutrition, water, sanitation and education are among the main challenges.

Achievements

Since its establishment in June 2010, OHCHR-Guinea carried out advocacy and capacity-building activities to assist the authorities in addressing the most pressing human rights challenges, especially to establish and/or strengthen national institutions and mechanisms related to accountability, justice and reconciliation, in line with the recommendations made by the International Commission of Inquiry. In particular, technical assistance has been provided to the Ministry of Justice and its National Directorate for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, as well as the Conseil national de transition (CNT), for the establishment of a national Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, as well as a National Human Rights Commission.

OHCHR organised a two-day workshop, which took place on 2-3 August 2011 in Conakry, on the establishment and functioning of an independent human rights commission. Recommendations made at the workshop are to be taken into consideration by the Government in finalising legislation on the national human rights commission.

The Office provided training on human rights for security sector officials and on human rights monitoring for members of the civil society; carried out ahead of the presidential elections. The Office also supported a local NGO to provide pro bono legal aid to people prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the September clashes in Conakry.

Priorities

The main priorities of the Office for the coming months are:

  • Human rights monitoring

The Office will continue to monitor the respect of human rights during the stabilization and reinforcement of the democratic system.

  • Human rights mechanisms

Assistance will be provided to national entities, including an independent human rights commission and Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in order to foster their compliance with international human rights obligations. Towards this objective the Office will, inter alia, be meeting with Co-Presidents of the Commission Nationale Provisoire de Reconciliation. The Office will support implementation of the UPR recommendations adopted by the Human Rights Council at its fifteenth session in September 2010.

  • Impunity

Priority will be given to promoting and supporting the fight against impunity for past human rights abuses and the establishment of accountability mechanisms for security and armed forces. The Office will support transitional justice mechanisms and assist the government in judicial reform.

  • Security Sector Reform

The Office will work closely with the UNCT in order to assist the government in the planning and implementation of a human rights-based security sector reform (SSR)

  • Human Rights mainstreaming

The Office will further strengthen the cooperation and coordination with the UN Country Team, in order to mainstream human rights in every strategic planning and to effectively cover all the region of the country.

Contact Information

Headquarters

Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division
Geneva, Switzerland

Africa Section 
Tel. +41 22 928 9694
Geneva, Switzerland

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