International Commission of Inquiry Needed in Guinea

On Monday, September 28th, 2009, Guinea’s security forces opened fire on 50,000 demonstrators, killing over 150 people and injuring more than 1,200 in the capital, Conakry. The protesters were asking for the leader of Guinea’s military junta, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, to step down after he suggested he would be running in the upcoming presidential elections. Capt. Camara took over in a military coup in December 2008 after the death of longtime president Lansana Conte.

According to several sources, the attacks were organized by army officers and supervised by members of the Presidential Guard. Witnesses also told Amnesty International that several women were publicly raped by the soldiers and that some of the demonstrators, including women, had been arrested during the demonstration and were still being held by the security forces.

This is what one demonstrator told Amnesty:

The soldiers ripped the skirts off the women, leaving them naked. They hit them with truncheons and Kalashnikovs. I saw two soldiers throw a woman on to the ground and publicly rape her in view of the demonstrators. I was afraid.

This is not the first time Guinea’s security forces have been accused of using indiscriminate forces against civilians. Just last year, during protests against the rising cost of basic commodities, at least five people were killed and 20 were injured as security forces turned against the protestors.

In 2007, a Commission of Inquiry was set up by the government to investigate grave human rights violations committed in 2006 and 2007, a commission which has yet to conduct any investigations and is continually hampered by a lack of political will to let it do its job. This is why Amnesty is asking for an international commission of inquiry to look into this new wave of human rights violations to ensure justice for all of the victims.  

Both the United Nations and the US government have condemned the actions of the Guinean security forces. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has even asked for an independent Commission of Inquiry. But given the lack of political will in Guinea to support commissions of inquiry in the past, it is absolutely necessary for the international community to ensure that an international commission of inquiry is implemented as soon as possible.

For more information on the situation in Guinea:

Juliette Rousselot contributed to this blog post

This entry was posted in Africa and tagged , , , by Christoph Koettl. Bookmark the permalink.

About Christoph Koettl

Christoph Koettl is the Emergency Response Manager at Amnesty International USA and works on urgent human rights situations such as armed conflicts. In his work he focuses on exploring the intersection of technology and human rights, specializing in utilizing satellite imagery or citizen video for human rights research and advocacy. He previously worked and studied in Austria, the Netherlands and Italy and holds an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His expertise is in International Humanitarian Law, conflict analysis, crisis mapping, video validation and social media forensics and he is a regular speaker on technology and human rights. He has testified on war crimes in Sri Lanka before the United States Congress and his work is covered regularly by numerous national and international media, including Associated Press, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and Reuters.
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6 thoughts on “International Commission of Inquiry Needed in Guinea

  1. The situation is Guinea is intolerable. The international community must express its condemnation. While the government of Guinea has proven impervious to international pressure in the past, we must let the people of Guinea that they are not forgotten or being ignored but that their hopes for democray have our support. Please check out Amnesty International's website as well as Human Rights Watch and others for actions that can be taken immediately to assist the people of Guinea.

  2. The situation is Guinea is intolerable. The international community must express its condemnation. While the government of Guinea has proven impervious to international pressure in the past, we must let the people of Guinea that they are not forgotten or being ignored but that their hopes for democray have our support. Please check out Amnesty International’s website as well as Human Rights Watch and others for actions that can be taken immediately to assist the people of Guinea.

  3. I heard a story on this just this morning on NPR. Absolutely horrible that things like this continue to happen. There must be international outrage and condemnation. I agree completely with Andrew F. Clark above and thanks for posting story with links.

  4. I heard a story on this just this morning on NPR. Absolutely horrible that things like this continue to happen. There must be international outrage and condemnation. I agree completely with Andrew F. Clark above and thanks for posting story with links.

  5. Pingback: What Future for Guinea? | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog

  6. Pingback: Guinea’s Bloody Monday Demonstrates Need for Greater Arms Control | Human Rights Now - Amnesty International USA Blog