Official Language: French
Population: 11.75 million
Strong military leaders have ruled Guinea since independence in 1958, starting with a one-party dictatorship that introduced a closed, socialized economy, suppressed freedom of expression and political opposition, and acted perpetrated state-sponsored human rights violations with impunity. Although Guinea has avoided civil war, it has consistently been unstable. The military regimes of Lansana Conté and Dadis Camara massacred civilians in 2007 and 2009, the latest in a history of violations of constitutionally enshrined rights and freedoms. The victims have largely remained uncompensated, and the perpetrators have gone unpunished. Given its relatively conflict-free status in the volatile Mano River region, Guinea has hosted thousands of refugees fleeing armed conflicts in Sierra Leone and Liberia, impacting on its peace and stability.
Mismanagement of Guinea’s natural resources — which include bauxite, gold, iron ore, uranium, diamonds, coffee, fish, hydropower and agricultural products — has brought few benefits to ordinary Guineans. The country’s economic governance suffers from rampant corruption, an absence of management structures and a general lack of capacity. Transparency International has classified Guinea among countries where corruption level is the highest. Human rights violations and censorship are rampant.
Guinea has now had a transition, having just held its most transparent and peaceful elections to date. There is renewed optimism that the return to democratic governance may reverse the trend of state-sponsored impunity. Critical challenges for the new government include consolidating peace, establishing the rule of law and strengthening the capacity of democratic institutions to perform their roles effectively.
Additionally, the country needs to develop mechanisms to improve the tenuous relationship between the military and the citizenry and to hold military personnel accountable for transgressions against the civilian population. Security forces in Guinea routinely torture, assault and sometimes murder people as part of an entrenched culture of impunity. Bringing to justice those who bear the greatest responsibility for the atrocities will lend momentum to efforts to strengthen accountability, protect civilians and lay a foundation for a lasting peace based on the rule of law.
Having secured a peaceful democratic transition in Guinea, OSIWA has supported efforts to:
This work is being implemented by a coalition of five civil society organizations, including women’s groups, youth associations, trade unions and media professionals. OSIWA’s principal objective in Guinea is to break the cycle of violence and impunity to increase access to justice and accountable governance. Its strategic interventions will therefore focus on:
OSIWA will support initiatives to:
Historically, the emergence of civil society in West Africa was seen as the answer by many to prosperity and ...