Guinean authorities must safeguard demonstrators, restore order, and organise credible and transparent legislative elections

01/03/2013
Press release
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FIDH and its member organisation, OGDH, are deeply concerned about the current political and security situation in Conakry. Scenes of violence have erupted since a demonstration on 27 February 2013. Our organisations call upon the Guinean authorities and political parties to restrain from committing acts of violence and to recover a framework for constructive dialogue with a view to holding credible and transparent legislative elections.

On Wednesday, 27 February 2013, much fighting took place in Conakry, in particular in the areas of Hamdallaye, Carrefour Concasseur and Taouyah. Clashes involved security forces and followers from opposition parties uniting within the Collectif des Parties Politiques pour la Finalisation de la Transition (CPPFT), the Alliance pour la Démocratie et le Progrès (ADP) and the Club des Républicains (CDR). Followers from the presidential camp were also involved.

This demonstration, organised to protest against the electoral operator and to promote the ability of Guinean people living abroad to vote, has seen over one hundred people injured, with corroborating information indicating the death of at least one demonstrator and a member of the security forces as a result of their wounds.
Since Wednesday, many incidents have occurred in different areas of Conakry and the situation on Friday, 1 March 2013, remains worrying. Acts of violence continue to trouble some areas, in particular Madina, Bambeto and Taouyah.

It is important to shed light as soon as possible on the acts of violence committed since Wednesday and to ensure, in all circumstances, the security and rights of those demonstrating said Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. This is an absolute prerequisite for establishing a State of law that complies with fundamental freedoms, she added.

These acts of violence take place within the particularly tense political context of the organisation of legislative elections, scheduled for 12 May 2013. Previous demonstrations, in particular on 27 August 2012 and 10 May 2012, have already seen significant fighting with a heavy human toll. However, a meeting has been planned for 4 March 2013 between the President and different political opposition parties participating in the forthcoming elections, with a view to strengthening national unity.

The first rally of 18 February, which occurred in very good conditions, was a success for young Guinean democracy, and was greeted by all. The escalating violence must be absolutely avoided. It is therefore essential that all political protagonists are able to discuss the organisation of the legislative elections through an inclusive process, in compliance with the Ouagadougou political agreement signed on 15 January 2010. All Guinean people want the establishment of democracy and the respect of fundamental freedoms said Thierno Maadjou Sow, OGDH President.

FIDH and OGDH remind the Guinean authorities of their obligations under the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance applicable to Guinea since 2011, as well as their duties under the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance. Both these instruments contain provisions requiring the organisation and holding of free, fair and transparent polls.

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