European Parliament

02/11/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/11/2020 10:56

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Guinea Conakry, notably violence towards protesters - B9-0104/2020

B9‑0104/2020

European Parliament resolution on Guinea Conakry, notably violence towards protesters

(2020/2551(RSP))

The European Parliament,

having regard to its previous resolutions on Guinea, most recently on 22 October 2009,

having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights of 1981,

having regard to the second revision of the Cotonou Agreement,

having regard to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Guinea of 15th January 2020

having Regard the Joint Statement of the United Nations, the European Union and the Embassies of the United States and France in Guinea of 5 November 2019

having regard to the 11thEuropean Development Fund National Indicative Programme for the period 2015-2020 allocating funds for Guinea

having regard to the third session of political dialogue between the European Union and the Republic of Guinea under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement, held on Wednesday 30 January 2019

having regard to the Constitution of Guinea, in particular its Title II on Fundamental rights, duties and freedoms;

having regard to the Declaration of the Guinean organisation for the defence of human and citizens' rights of the 4thFebruary 2020;

having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure

A. whereas, in December 2019, President Alpha Condé confirmed his decision to change the constitution through a public referendum to be held on 1st March 2020; whereas according to the provisions of the new constitution President Alpha Condé would be given the possibility to run for a third mandate, while in the framework of the current constitution he has reached the maximum amount of presidential mandates;

B. whereas at least four people have been killed by security forces during demonstrations on 14 October 2019 against the proposal of revision of the Constitution; whereas at least 14 people, including opposition party members of the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) and some of their relatives, were arrested during the weekend preceding the 14 October demonstrations.;

C. whereas according to the Constitution of Guinea, freedom of the press is 'guaranteed and protected' and citizens are 'free to believe, to think and to profess their religious faith, their political and philosophical opinions' and to 'express, to manifest and to diffuse their ideas and opinions by words, in writing and by images;

D. whereas Guinea is ranked 101st out of 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index; whereas since 2015 at least 20 journalists have been summoned, detained or faced judicial proceedings; whereas since the start of the demonstrations in October 2019, journalists, human rights defenders and civil society activists have been arrested and subjected to violence;

E. whereas Lansana Diawara, coordinator of the House of Associations and NGOs of Guinea, was arrested on 25 November 2019 after posting a Facebook message relaying information that the former Minister of Security and Civil Protection, had taken departmental furniture when he left office; whereas he was released on 26 November 2019, but remains charged with defamation;

F. whereas since July 2018 the government has been held responsible for a complete ban on public protests[1]; threatening freedom of assembly;

G. whereas 70 protesters and bystanders, were killed during protests between January 2015 and October 2019[2]; whereas according to the same report, hundreds of kids have been injured by public forces in the context of protests and one, seven year-old Koromo Condé, has been killed.

H. Whereas the 2015 law requires that any use of force by the security forces be necessary and proportionate, members of the police and gendarmerie are still involved in incidents of excessive use of lethal force in the framework of often-violent street protests; whereas sinceNovember 2018, the Guinean government has permanently deployed army units to key intersections in Conakry, which is arguably a violation of the 2015 law, which aims to limit the army's deployment to periods when the president has declared a state of emergency;

I. whereas in the current context of protests against the reform of the constitution, which exacerbates opposition between the government and opposition parties, the OGDH (Guinean Human Rights and Citizen's Rights Organisation) denounces the repeated violations of human rights in Guinea; whereas, these violations translate into, inter alia destruction of public sites, attempts to ethnic division, forced evictions from private properties; whereas between February and May 2019, the Guinean government forcibly evicted more than 20,000 people from neighborhoods in Conakry in order to provide land for government ministries, foreign embassies, businesses, and other public works;

J. whereas, in November 2017, the Guinean justice closed investigation into the 2009 stadium massacre, where at least 150 people were killed and more than 100 women were raped and subjected to other forms of sexual violence; whereas those charged over the incident include former president and junta leader Moussa Dadis Camara and high-ranking security officials in President Condé's current administration; whereas Guinea's justice minister announced the trial would take place by June 2020;

K. whereas Guinea's bauxite sector has grown rapidly since 2015, no adequate measures have been taken to regulate the industry and ensure companies respect the environment and the rights of local communities; whereas mining companies have expropriated ancestral farmlands without adequate compensation, threatening tens of thousands of people's livelihoods;

1. Expresses its deep concern at the political and security situation in Guinea; strongly condemns the breaches to freedom of assembly and freedom of speech as well as acts of violence, killings and other human rights abuses taking place in Guinea; calls for effective and proportionate action to prevent further breaches;

2. Recalls that the Guinean authorities have an obligation under international human rights legislation to guarantee, protect and promote fundamental rights, including the civil and political rights of the citizens;

3. Stresses the essential role of civil society and journalists in a democratic society, and urges Guinean authorities to stop immediately the intimidation, and arbitrary arrest of journalists, human rights defenders, and members of the opposition parties and to take urgent measures to guarantee their safety on the ground in the country;

4. Urges to conduct thorough, independent and impartial investigations into all cases of arbitrary arrest, torture or other ill-treatment and harassment of journalists, opposition leaders, opponents of the government and human rights defenders; and in all cases where the security forces have injured or caused death through unnecessary or excessive use of force;

5. Urges to ensure that all observers of protests are protected and do not suffer from arbitrary arrests or acts of violence, including by the security forces;

6. Urges both the opposition political parties and the pro-government camp to maintain an atmosphere of calm in all circumstances, in order to avoid further escalation of instability and violence towards the population;

7. Calls on the Guinean authorities to halt any further evictions of the population from their land or property until it can guarantee respect for the rights of residents, including adequate notice, and compensation and resettlement prior to evictions; stresses that adequate compensation should be provided to all individuals forcibly evicted who have not received such compensation;

8. Calls on Guinean authorities to respect the deadline of June 2020 set by the justice minister to start the trial of the September 28, 2009 stadium protest victims, irrespective of any eventual protests or obstacles around the planned-2020 presidential elections;

9. Calls on the European Commission and the EU member states to follow-up on the recommendations raised at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Guinea in January 2020, in particular regarding the rights to life, physical integrity, freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly, as well as regarding use of force and impunity, and encourage the Guinean authorities to accept them;

10. Calls on the EU delegation and the EU Member States with diplomatic missions on the ground to fully implement the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and to provide all appropriate support to the human rights defenders detained;

11. Calls on the EU and the international community as a whole to promote political dialogue and to pursue its humanitarian and development efforts to resolve the political and human rights crisis in Guinea, with the view to prevent a further escalation of violence and instability in the region;

12. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the European External Action Service, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and Parliament of Guinea, the African Union, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, and the Pan-African Parliament.

[2]https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/11/guinea-human-rights-red-flags-ahead-of-presidential-election/