Launch of national consultations in Guinea: laying the foundations for reconciliation

Press release
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Our organisations [1] were extremely pleased at the launch on 25 March 2015 of a campaign of national consultations to establish the methods for a long-awaited process of reconciliation.

However, at a time when tensions in Guinean society and politics are rising, particularly in relation to the organisation of the upcoming elections, our organisations believe that, for the consultations to be successful, they must be inclusive and must be conducted in a peaceful social and political context.

“ Recent Guinean history has been marked by serious human rights violations. The countless crimes committed at Camp Boiro, the 1985 repression, the crushing of protests in January and February 2007 and the massacre at the stadium on 28 September 2009, to mention a few, are dark chapters that must be examined today so that Guineans can move forward together towards a peaceful future, declared Thierno Sow, OGDH President.

The Provisional Commission for Reflection on National Reconciliation (CPRN), which is organising the consultations, was established in August 2011. The Guinean President made reconciliation one of his key commitments and appointed two of the country’s religious figures to lead the commission, Elhadj Mamadou Saliou Camara, the Grand Imam of Conakry Mosque, and Monseigneur Vincent Coulibaly, Archbishop of Conakry. Since then, however, the reconciliation process has witnessed few major developments.

These consultations, carried out with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, should enable the reconciliation demands of the Guinean people to be gathered and their calls for the setting up of a future legitimate, reconciliation commission, which meets their expectations, to be taken into account. They will be asked to comment on the commission’s mandate, composition and method of working, so that it can achieve truth, justice and reparation for the victims.

“ There are fundamental issues at stake in the reconciliation process for establishing the rule of law. To attain this objective, the expectations of each individual to know the truth about the human rights violations which have marked the history of Guinea must be recorded,, declared Sidiki Keïta, President of the Camp Boiro Victims Association.

For these national consultations to effectively lay the foundations for a sound reconciliation process, they must take place in a peaceful political context. The organisation of the upcoming local and presidential elections is the source of considerable tension and the absence of constructive dialogue could rebound on the reconciliation process.

“ Reconciliation cannot be legislated for; it must be constructed through the process underway. To this end, the launch of the consultations is a necessary step and it is encouraging to observe that significant resources have been put in place to enable the whole of the Guinean population to participate. But this step can only be taken in a peaceful political context that promotes dialogue, ” declared Drissa Traore, lawyer and FIDH Vice-president.

Our organisations point out that justice and the fight against impunity must be at the heart of national reconciliation. In particular, the role of the Commission, which will be established following the national consultations, and that of the judicial institutions must be coherently set out to guarantee victims the fundamental right to justice.

Lastly, our organisations would like to take this opportunity to once more pay homage to the central role played by Thierno Aliou Diaoune, coordinator of the Peacebuilding Fund, in implementing the process of national reconciliation. Mr Diaoune was assassinated in Conakry on 7 February 2015 and our organisations expect the judicial investigation underway to shed light on this tragic event.

For many years, our organisations have put considerable effort into promoting an inclusive and participative process of national reconciliation, which would not only allow the Guinean people to be reconciled with each other but also to be reconciled with the State. Our organisations are convinced that reconciliation comes about by establishing a State that is capable of guaranteeing its citizens security and effective redress in the event of human rights violations.

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