Saturday, January 24, 2009

Guinean junta summons industry leaders, is warned by Human Rights Watch

From: Friends of Guinea blog

Note: Reprinted with permission.

Guinea's military junta summoned industry leaders earlier this week, including representatives of the country's lucrative and controversial mining sector, before a commission investigating corruption.

Meanwhile, the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch called on the junta to hold members of the former regime accountable for human rights' abuses.

"Guinea stands at an historic crossroads," said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Improving the chronic human rights problems that have undermined the civil, political, social, and economic rights of the Guinean population for decades must be a top priority of the current government."
Since 2006, Human Rights Watch has done extensive research into patterns of human rights abuses against ordinary Guineans, including torture, extrajudicial executions, widespread extortion, and the brutal repression of street protests. The evidence in the vast majority of these cases shows that the abuses have been committed by members of the security forces, but the government has rarely investigated these cases, much less brought those responsible to justice. This failure to act, coupled with a weak judiciary, characterized by a lack of independence from the executive branch, inadequate resources, and corruption, has left ordinary Guineans with scant hope for redress.

In 2007, then-head of state Lansana Conté agreed to set up a commission to investigate extrajudicial killings and other abuses related to the repression of that year's general strike. However, the commission never really started its work. In an interview with Radio France Internationale, Dufka called on Dadis to order the commission to start its work and cooperate with it.

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