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Human Rights Council, Introduction to the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Guinea, statement by Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Geneva, 22 March 2017

Mr. President, Excellencies,

This report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of human rights in Guinea is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 31/29. The Human Rights Council also decided to hold an interactive dialogue in the presence of all interested parties on the implementation of the present resolution, with particular emphasis on the fight against impunity. In his previous report to the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Guinea, the High Commissioner had made several recommendations, which the Government took important steps towards implementing during 2016.

The OHCHR Office in Guinea worked with the Government of Guinea, civil society organizations and other national and international stakeholders to elaborate strategies to address human rights challenges in the country, which resulted in significant progress on a number of key human rights issues. Of note, the National Assembly adopted revised procedural and penal codes which included the criminalization of torture and the abolition of the death penalty. Human rights modules were integrated in the Security and Defense Forces curricula, reflecting positive developments towards strengthening the rule of law.

Efforts were also made in relation to transitional justice and national reconciliation, marked by the submission of the final report of the National Consultations on 29 June 2016 to the President by the two leaders of the Christian and Muslim communities, co-chairs of the provisional National Commission on Reconciliation. The main recommendations were related to the establishment of a truth reconciliation commission, the reform of security and justice sectors, a review of the historical record, and the mainstreaming of a gender perspective into the national reconciliation process.

In a crucial step forward to hold perpetrators of the atrocities committed in Conakry on 28 September 2009, Mr. Aboubacar Sidiki Diakité, the aide-de-Camp of former Head of State Captain Dadis Camara, was arrested in Dakar, Sengal, on 16 December 2016, and extradited to Guinea on 12 March 2017. Nevertheless, in spite of the commitment of the Government to prioritize the fight against impunity, major shortcomings remain in the response to many cases of human rights violations. This is illustrated by the slow rate of prosecution of the presumed authors of crimes against humanity committed during the 28 September 2009 events, the lack of trust of citizens in the justice system which results in cases of private justice, and lengthy pretrial detentions. Impunity also remains a feature of the fight against gender-based violence, including Female Genital Mutilation, the perpetrators of which are hardly ever brought before the courts. There are also challenges regarding economic, social and cultural rights, notably with regards to transparency in the management of mineral-resource and the protection of the environment and of communities in mining areas.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) also continued to receive and investigate reports of human rights violations, including allegations of arbitrary arrests and detentions, excessive use of force, torture, and breaches of the duty to protect the population in relation to the many cases of lynching. Most of the allegations of human rights violations were attributed to the security forces.

The High Commissioner concludes his report with recommendations to the Government of Guinea and the international community on measures to be taken to address pending human rights challenges. These include pursuing security sector reform, supporting the post-Ebola recovery plan and the NHRI, and ending gender based violence including Female Genital Mutilation. The High Commissioner further stresses the importance of strengthening the fight against impunity at all levels, including among members of the defence and security forces. The report notes the urgency and importance of making further progress on the trials relating to the events of 28 September 2009, and recommends that individuals charged in cases relating to these events should be suspended from duty pending the completion of the judicial process.

Thank you.