UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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UN human rights chief calls for independent
investigation into Guinea “blood bath”

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GENEVA (30 September 2009) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called Wednesday for an independent inquiry into reports that numerous summary executions and other human rights violations were carried out by Guinea’s security forces during the violent suppression of a mass demonstration on 28 September.

“I note that the Guinea authorities have announced they will carry out an inquiry to find out who gave the orders to fire on the demonstrators,” Pillay said. “I would like to stress that it is essential that such an inquiry is both independent and impartial, so that all those responsible for carrying out summary executions, rapes and other human rights violations are brought to justice.”

“Monday’s blood bath must not become part of the fabric of impunity that has enveloped Guinea for decades,” Pillay said.

The High Commissioner strongly condemned the excessive force, including the use of live ammunition, employed by the Guinean security forces in the capital Conakry during their efforts to disperse a largely peaceful demonstration calling for the restoration of Constitutional order, after a military junta seized power nine months ago.

Pillay said she was appalled by reports that, during Monday’s violence, more than 130 people were killed, women were raped, and members of the opposition were arbitrarily arrested and had their homes looted.

She pointed out that Guinea has ratified most of international human rights treaties, under which it is obliged to respect -- among many other things -- the rights to life, to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Numerous summary executions and other human rights violations took place under the previous government, in particular in June 2006 and February 2007. “An independent Commission of Inquiry was established to look into those events,” Pillay said, “but, due to a lack of political will, it never functioned. Its failure to do so could well be a factor in Monday’s violence and it is essential Guinea does not repeat this failure.”