In this report, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 31/29, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights describes the human rights situation in Guinea in 2016 and makes recommendations to address various human rights problems. He also provides information on the activities of the country office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guinea and the results achieved through the technical assistance provided by the latter.
II. Main political and economic developments affecting human rights
The year 2016 saw numerous political and social upheavals. In February, the two main trade union confederations called a general strike to demand, inter alia, that the Government lower the price of petroleum products and improve the living and working conditions of public sector workers and those working in some public-private companies.
Negotiations led to reforms to the public sector classification system and an increase in the salary scale for public sector workers.
In March and April, the political parties of the republican opposition coalition, led by the Union des forces démocratiques de Guinée (UFDG), called on citizens to observe “dead town” days of protest so as to force the Government to lower fuel prices.
These protests paralysed the public and private sectors in Conakry and led to clashes between law enforcement forces and youths from the suburbs. Several people were injured and around 10 arrests were made during the clashes.
In April, the women members of UFDG attempted to organize a peaceful march to demand the release of the party leader’s bodyguards, who had been arrested in February as part of the inquiry into the fatal shooting of a journalist working for the private press outside the headquarters of their political movement. The march, which was due to take place in the commune of Kaloum, was first prohibited and then halted by law enforcement on the orders of the Governor of Conakry.
In August, the republican opposition organized a peaceful march, inviting its activists and supporters, as well as “all Guinean citizens who love freedom and justice to participate in a peaceful march planned for 16 August in order to express, through their mass presence on public thoroughfares and in public spaces, their rejection of current political, economic and social governance practices”. The march was authorized by the authorities and organized in coordination with the Governorate of Conakry and the security forces.
Despite the coordination between the march’s organizers and the political authorities and security services, there were clashes between protesters and law enforcement officers at the Bambeto roundabout, in the commune of Ratoma. The clashes led to the death of a young male protester and gunshot injuries to three other protesters: a man, a woman and a child.
In September, the President met with his main opponent, UFDG leader Mamadou Cellou Dalein Diallo, as part of periodic consultations on matters of national interest. This meeting marked the beginning of a period of political calm. The two political rivals agreed on the need to prioritize dialogue over confrontation in order to safeguard peace and national unity.
In September, an inter-Guinean political dialogue between the President’s camp and the opposition was launched, with eight items on the agenda: the electoral lists, the organization of municipal and local elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, respect for the constitutional principle of the neutrality of the public administration, the identification and prosecution of the perpetrators of the violence committed during opposition protests over the 2013 legislative elections, compensation for the victims of that violence, the establishment of the Supreme Court and the release of arrested and imprisoned persons.
As a result of that dialogue, the Presidential camp and the opposition agreed on all of the agenda items and signed a comprehensive agreement intended to bring the crisis to an end. The agreement was signed in the presence of representatives from the international community, including the United Nations, the European Union, the International Organization of la Francophonie, the Economic Community of West African States, the ambassador of the United States of America, the ambassador of France and Guinean civil society, as observers. The conclusion of the agreement, which is to be submitted to the National Assembly for adoption, has defused the political situation and brought an end to the street demonstrations that had become a source of violence and human rights violations.