Guinea

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Persistent violations
  • Early and forced marriage[1]
  • Female genital mutilation[2]
  • Violence against children, particularly affecting girls[3]
  • Trafficking of children[4]
  • Inadequate provision for education and disparities in the provision of education, particularly affecting girls, children in rural areas and children with disabilities[5]
  • Discrimination against women and girls[6]
  • Sexual violence and abuse affecting children[7]
  • Inadequate health and educational response to HIV and AIDS and discrimination against children with HIV and AIDS[8]
  • Economic exploitation of children, including child labour[9]
  • Impunity for human rights violations[10]

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Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Universal Periodic Review
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
  6. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  7. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  8. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  9. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review
  10. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Universal Periodic Review



Introduction

Located in West Africa, the highlands of Guinea are the source for the Niger, Gambia and Senegal rivers. Ruled by a succession of autocratic regimes since independence, the relatively free elections of 2010 were overshadowed by a subsequent coup attempt and continued political paralysis, with the voting in of a new legislature repeatedly postponed. The human rights situation, while improved, is still problematic, with abuses by security forces, near universal practice of female genital mutilation and high incidence of other forms of violence against women and girls.

Geography

Guinea is located in Atlantic coast of West Africa and shares borders with Senegal, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau. The capital city is Conakry.

Population and language

Around 10 million people live in Guinea, a figure that has more than doubled over the last 30 years, and continues to rise at an annual rate of around 2 per cent.[1] The population is largely made up of Peulh, Malinke and Susu peoples, but in the south-eastern forest region there are substantial Kissi, Loma and Kpelle communities.

French is the official language but Basari, Pular, Kissi, Koniagi, Kpele, Loma, Malinke and Susu are all taught in Guinea's schools.[2]

History and politics

Guinea was formed as a territory in 1891 when the French separated the land from Senegal before incorporating it into the French African Federation. The French maintained control over the country until 1958, when Guinea gained independence under the leadership of Ahmed Sekou Touré. Touré governed with a revolutionary socialist political agenda and cultivated a relationship with the Soviet Union. His regime was notorious for committing serious human rights abuses, including the torture, execution and disappearance of tens of thousands of Guineans. Touré remained President until his death in 1984, upon which he was replaced by former General Conté who instituted democratic reforms, but nonetheless remained in power until he in turn died in 2008.[3]

Following the death of President Conté, the military seized power in a bloodless coup, but serious violence took place in the wake of the takeover. In a single incident on the 28 September 2009, 156 peaceful protesters were killed by Guinean security forces and reports emerged of mass rapes and other serious human rights abuses.[4] A political agreement was signed in Ougadougou in January 2010 which paved the way for democratic elections held later in the year, in which current President Alpha Condé took office.[5]

Economy

Guinea is among the world's poorest countries. An estimated 43 per cent of the population live on less than US$1.25 per day and the UNDP has rated the country 178 out of 186 In the world in terms of human development.[6] While the country has substantial iron ore, gold and diamond reserves, and is the world's largest exporter of bauxite, Guinea has experienced limited profit from this potential. The World Bank has rated the country the seventh worst environment for business in the world in 2013.[7]

Media and civil society

During 2010, the Transitional Government instituted a number of reforms that affected press freedom, including the institution of media freedom guarantees in the new Constitution, the decriminalisation of a number of media offences, passing an access to information law and providing for the creation of a new media regulator in legislation. Reporters Without Borders has reported, however, that these laws have not been implemented by the Condé government.[8]

Since the election of President Condé there have also been a number of prominent instances of restrictions on media. Freedom House has reported that “members of the media [have been] subject to censorship, suspension, detention threats and assaults by the government and security forces [since 2010]”.[9] Reporters at the state-owned broadcaster, Radio Television Guinéenne (RTG) were allegedly suspended on the basis of their political affiliation and the National Communication Council ordered a suspension on reporting an attempt on the life of the President in July 2011.[10]

Reporters Without Borders ranked the country 86 out of 179 in its Press Freedom Index of 2013, indicating “notable problems” in the country.[11]

Human rights and children's rights

Serious human rights abuses took place during the military junta of 2008 and 2009, which led a UN International Commission of Inquiry to conclude that the actions of the Moussa Dadis Camara very likely constituted crimes against humanity.[12] Three investigating judges have been appointed to the case, two high level suspects have been charged and the International Criminal Court has confirmed that the situation is under preliminary examination.[13] Amnesty International has also reported excessive force used by police and other law enforcement officials as well as torture and ill-treatment of detainees has continued in the country.[14]

International human rights mechanisms have raised a number of serious children’s rights concerns in relation to the country. The trafficking of children, early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation have all been persistently raised by numerous UN human rights over the past decade.[15]

  1. UNDESA, "Population Statistics 2011"
  2. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, "Guinea Country Profile"
  3. BBC, "Guinea's hardline president dies" 23 December 2008
  4. "Report of the International Commission of Inquiry mandated to establish the facts and circumstances of the events of 28 September 2009 in Guinea" 18 December 209 (S/2009/693), para. 70
  5. The Guardian, "Guinea court seals Alpha Conde presidential election victory" 3 December 2010
  6. UNDP, "Country Profile: Human Development Indicators" accessed 21 March 2013
  7. World Bank, "Doing Business 2013"
  8. See Reporters Without Borders, "Turning the page: Hopes for media freedom in Niger and Guinea" July 2011
  9. Freedom House, "Freedom of the Press 2012: Guinea"
  10. See Reporters Without Borders, "Turning the page: Hopes for media freedom in Niger and Guinea" July 2011
  11. Reporters Without Borders, "Press Freedom Index 2013"
  12. "Report of the International Commission of Inquiry mandated to establish the facts and circumstances of the events of 28 September 2009 in Guinea" 18 December 209 (S/2009/693)
  13. Human Rights Watch, "Annual Report 2013: Guinea"
  14. Amnesty International, "Annual Report 2012: Guinea"
  15. See CRIN, "Guinea: Persistent violations of children's rights" 15 February 2013

Sources:

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