Forum: African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
Subject: Discrimination on the basis of citizenship/nationality in access to other rights. Mistreatment of non-citizens
Date of Justice Initiative Action: May 2003 — present
Case History: This case concerns the human rights violations suffered by Sierra Leonean refugees in Guinea Conakry following the inflammatory remarks made by President Lansana Conte in 2000, where he accused them of being a threat to Guinea’s security, called on landlords to turn them out of their homes and urged Guineans everywhere to assist in rounding up the refugees by bringing them to the nearest police station or army post. In the weeks following these remarks, members of the police, security forces and the general population threatened, beat, raped, detained and extorted possessions from thousands of refugees.
In May 2002, The Institute
for Human Rights and Development in Africa brought a case before the African Court
on Human and Peoples’ Rights on behalf of the Sierra Leonean victims.
In May 2004, three witnesses – all victims of the anti-Sierra Leonean violence in 2000 – testified before the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
They argued that the attacks fueled by the President’s remarks constituted impermissible discrimination on grounds of nationality, and resulted in numerous violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights including Articles 1, through 7, 12 and 14 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which include the failure to ensure application of the African Charter, discriminatory, cruel and inhuman treatment, arbitrary detention, arbitrary execution, deprivation of the right to fair trial, mass expulsions, and deprivation of property. The Justice Initiative is acting as co-counsel in the case.
Case Status: A decision by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is pending.