Presidential Election: Violence must stop to enable a peaceful and transparent election

Press release
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(Conakry, Paris) Deeply concerned by the growing tension and by the acts of violence that took place in Conakry and in several localities at the approach of the first round of the presidential election, FIDH, its member organizations, and partners in Guinea urge all parties to restraint, in order to preserve security for all as well as to ensure the smooth unfolding of elections, scheduled on October 11, 2015.

As the election campaign took place in a relatively peaceful climate, despite clashes and arrests observed by our organisations in Koundara on September 20 and 21, 2015, and subsequently in Mamou, tensions were seriously exacerbated in recent days in Nzerekore, Conakry and Banankoro. On October 3, 2015, 80 people were injured in Nzerekore. Violence then erupted between political activists in Conakry during the night of October 8 to 9, causing at least two deaths in the neighbourhood of Madina.

Tensions rose a notch on October 9, 2015 in Conakry, particularly in the municipalities of Dixinn and Matoto, between opposition party activists and ruling party activists. Clashes in the sub-prefecture of Banankoro, in the Eastern part of the country, killed five individuals and left dozens wounded. In less than a week, the results of pre-election violence have risen to more than one hundred injured and at least seven dead.

"We condemn the current violence and urge political leaders and their supporters to restraint and act responsibly in order to avoid a new cycle of politically motivated violence in Guinea."

Abdoul Diallo Gadiry, OGDH Spokesman

Our organisations are particularly concerned about the stigmatizing and community-related discourses of some politicians and their supporters who maintain the tension and the risk of clashes. The presidential election should be a time for people to peacefully express their opinion in favour of a political programme. All political actors must guarantee that presidential elections be held in a free, transparent and pluralistic manner, the results of which are consistent with the choice of the majority.

"This is only the second free presidential election in Guinea. But democracy can not be constructed in any valid way against a background of political violence and community-related clashes. It is the responsibility of election candidates’ to urge their activists to restraint and to take all possible measures to maintain a peaceful climate before and after the polling day."

Drissa Traore, Vice President of FIDH

Our organisations recall that Guinea has made significant progress in recent years in the fight against impunity and started to implement reforms in the areas of justice and security. The continuation of these efforts must be an objective shared by all candidates and be effective even before the election, especially in this troubled political climate in which the human rights of Guinean citizens could be endangered. In this context, any person responsible for violence, or incitement to hatred and violence should be prosecuted.

OGDH, which has deployed approximately one hundred observers of human rights violations in the 33 prefectures and 5 districts of Conakry shall ensure that all violence or incitement to commit acts of violence be denounced.

The International Criminal Court [1], would be able to pursue those who would commit or who have incited others to commit serious human rights violations within its jurisdiction.

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