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Human Rights Watch May 2011 Report on Guinea
Kadiatou Barry, 22, holds a photograph of her missing
husband Alpha Oumar Diallo in Conakry Oct. 4, 2009.
Barry says her husband has been missing since the Sept.
28 massacre of opposition protesters
. Photo: Reuters
Four political prisoners hanged in 1971 in Conakry
Pont 8 Nov. Conakry, Jan. 25, 1971.
Four of the dozens of people who
were hanged, from back to front:
Ousmane Baldet, Finance minister,
Barry III, secretary of state;
Magassouba Moriba
, delegate-
minister; Keita Kara Soufiana (police
© Camp Boiro Memorial

Version française : “Nous avons vécu dans l'obscurité

The 2010 elections, during which the Guinean people elected their president in an atmosphere largely free of intimidation, fear, or manipulation, were widely viewed as having the potential to end over 50 years of authoritarianism, human rights abuse, and corruption.

Guinea’s new president, Alpha Condé, inherited a country with profound human rights and governance problems including a culture of impunity, weak rule of law, endemic corruption, and crushing poverty. Since independence from France in 1958, successive Guinean presidents relied on ruling party militias and security forces to intimidate and violently repress opposition voices. Thousands of Guineans who dared to oppose the government have been tortured, starved, or beaten to death by state security forces, or were executed in police custody and military barracks. Guinea’s judiciary, which could have mitigated some of the excesses, has been neglected, severely under-resourced, or manipulated, allowing a dangerous culture of impunity to take hold. As perpetrators of all classes of state-sponsored abuses and human rights crimes have rarely been investigated, victims have been left with scant hope for legal redress for even the most serious of crimes.

In this report, Human Rights Watch identifies the key rule of law challenges faced by the new administration, explores some of the factors which have contributed to them, and makes recommendations on how to end this history of abuse and impunity and ensure Guinea’s successful transformation from an abusive state into one that guarantees the rights of its people. The report calls on the new administration to adequately support and reform the judiciary; ensure those responsible for state-sponsored massacres in 2007 and 2009 are brought to justice; establish a truth-telling mechanism to explore the dynamics that gave rise to and sustained successive repressive regimes; rein in, professionalize, and reform the security sector; and ensure Guinea’s population can benefit from the country’s abundant natural resources by establishing an independent anti-corruption commission.


  1. Background: Decades of Impunity from Independence to the Fourth Republic
  2. Accountability for Past Abuses
  3. Truth-Telling Mechanism
  4. Strengthening the Guinean Judiciary
  5. Independent National Human Rights Institution
  6. The Security Sector: Vector of Instability or Guarantor of Security?
  7. Impunity for Economic Crimes
    The National Assembly

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