News24

'Conde ‘must address legacy of abuse’

2011-05-24 15:00

Dakar - Human Rights Watch urged Guinean President Alpha Conde to address rights abuses and governance problems which set in during 52 years of dictatorships and military rule, in a report published Tuesday.

"Guinea’s future hangs in the balance," said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

"President Conde’s actions - or inactions - will either create a positive new human rights trajectory or trap Guinea in the excesses and abuses of the past."

The HRW report, entitled "We Have Lived in Darkness: A Human Rights Agenda for Guinea’s New Government" said all the country's leaders had "relied on ruling party militia and security forces to intimidate and violently repress independent voices".

"Thousands of Guineans who dared to oppose the government have been tortured, starved, beaten to death by state security forces, or executed in police custody and military barracks."

Conde became the first democratically elected president of the west African country in 2010 elections since independence from France in 1958.

The country's first president Ahmed Sekou Toure ruled with an iron fist until his death in 1984 when Lansana Conte seized power in a coup, ruling until his death in 2008.

After another coup, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized control, and on 28 September 2009, his soldiers crushed an opposition rally in a stadium massacre, killing over 150 and raping women publically.

When he was shot in the head by a close aide, a transition government was set up to lead the first democratic polls.

The 78-page report calls on government to bring those responsible for the massacres in 2007 and 2009 to justice, strengthen the judiciary, reform the security sector and ensure the population benefits from the country's abundant natural resources.