Human rights “red flags” seen ahead of presidential election in Guinea


Ahead of the 2020 presidential election in Guinea, Amnesty International said in a report today, the Guinean authorities must address mounting human rights violations, including the killing of protesters, bans on peaceful assemblies and attacks on dissenting voices.

The report titled Guinea: Red flags ahead of the 2020 presidential election, documents the deteriorating human rights situation between January 2015 and October 2019, including the killing of 70 protesters and bystanders and at least three members of the security forces.

The report also warns of rising political tensions amidst growing public concerns President Alpha Condé will amend the constitution to run for a third term.

“The authorities must do everything in their power to defuse tensions, protect human rights and save lives before, during and after the next elections.”said Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry, Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director.

Amnesty International releases its report ahead of Guinea’s UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in January 2020. The report assesses the human rights situation since the UPR in January 2015. In that time, Guinea has abolished the death penalty which is a significant and positive human rights development.

However, there are many other areas, where it is still falling short.

Amnesty International found that 70 protesters and bystanders were killed in the context of protests between January 2015 and October 2019. These victims include a 7-year-old child who, according to medical sources, was hit by a stray bullet in October 2015.

Amnesty International also documented the killing of Amadou Boukariou Baldé a student who was beaten to death by gendarmes deployed to disperse a demonstration at the University of Labé in central Guinea on 31 May 2019.

The report also revealed that hundreds of people, including children as young as four years old, have been injured by security forces using live ammunition, batons and tear gas canisters.

One of the victims is 10-year-old Mamadou Hady Barry, who was hit in the back by a bullet as he was returning home from Koranic school in Conakry on 13 November 2018. He suffered severe injuries which have left him unable to walk.

A large number of protests have been arbitrarily banned by the government in recent years. Human rights defenders, including journalists, continue to be summoned, detained or arrested by the police, solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

The report also highlights how journalists have been targeted, had their media houses’ licences suspended or been assaulted by members of the security forces.

The report also documented cases of torture and other ill-treatment, particularly in police custody. This includes beatings, rapes, use of stress positions, burns and sleep deprivation.

Impunity continues to rule in Guinea. The relatives of people killed during protests have filed dozens of police complaints, sometimes with specific information on the units of the security forces deployed, including names, and number plates.

Yet only one of these cases led to judicial proceedings. In February 2019, the conviction of a police captain for the 2016 killing of a bystander during protests was the first time since 2010 that a member of the security forces has been brought to justice. (Source: Amnesty Intl.)