Amnesty International on Monday called on Guinea coup leaders to protect the rights of all population in the West African country.
Soldiers from the National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (CNRD) on Sunday seized power and detained President Alpha Condé, prompting condemnation from the United States, the United Nations, the African Union and other regional and international bodies.
“We call on CNRD leaders to protect and guarantee the human rights of Guinea’s entire population, which has suffered years of violations and repression,” said Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director Samira Daoud.
Daoud said political opponents and protesters who were arrested before and after last October’s presidential election must be released.
“Coup leaders must also clarify on which legal basis they are detaining President Alpha Condé. He must either be charged with a recognizable criminal offence or be immediately released,” he said in a brief statement.
Heavy gunfire broke out around the presidential palace in Conakry on the morning of September 5, 2021. CNRD soldiers, led by Lt Col. Mamady Doumbouya, arrested President Alpha Condé and appeared on national television to announce the coup.
Doumbouya later stated that President Condé “is in a safe place and has seen a doctor”. Coup leaders also dissolved Guinea’s constitution, suspended all institutions including the government, ordered a curfew, and closed all borders.
Amnesty International said during his rule, President Alpha Condé who has been in power since December 2010, “a raft of human rights violations has been committed, including bans on peaceful assemblies, Internet shutdown, use of excessive force resulting in protesters being killed and injured, and scores of arbitrary arrests of opposition and civil society activists.”
In a 2020 report, Amnesty International documented the killing of at least 50 people during demonstrations against the constitutional reform initiated and implemented by the authorities in 2019 and 2020. Nearly 200 other people were injured, and opponents have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, simply for having exercised their right to freedom of expression or peaceful assembly.
In another 2019 report, Amnesty International documented the killing during protests of 70 protesters and bystanders and at least three members of the security forces, between January 2015 and October 2019.
United States reaction
The United States on Sunday evening joined the United Nations and others in condemning the military seizure of power in Guinea, saying that “violence and any extra-constitutional measures will only erode Guinea’s prospects for peace, stability, and prosperity.”
“These actions could limit the ability of the United States and Guinea’s other international partners to support the country as it navigates a path toward national unity and a brighter future for the Guinean people,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement. “We urge all parties to forego violence and any efforts not supported by the Constitution and stand by the rule of law. We reiterate our encouragement of a process of national dialogue to address concerns sustainably and transparently to enable a peaceful and democratic way forward for Guinea to realize its full potential.”
However, the army unit’s head, Mamady Doumbouya, told the nation after the United Nations condemned the coup and the West African region’s economic bloc threatened reprisals that “poverty and endemic corruption” were to blame for the coup.