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Guinea: Government dissolves opposition coalition

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  Guinea dissolved the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution Front national pour la d fense de la Constitution FNDC a prominent coalition of Guinean civil society groups and opposition parties for political reasons on August 8 2022 noted Human Rights Watch This day The measure of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization of the country seriously harms the return of the country to a genuine democratic government The coalition had no opportunity to effectively challenge the decision which was based on vague and generalized allegations before an independent judicial body with the authority to overturn the order The Guinean transitional government already tightly controls the political space said Ilaria Allegrozzi senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch This move against the FNDC will only further undermine democracy by discouraging any meaningful opposition The order accuses the coalition of organizing armed public demonstrations using violence inciting hatred and acting as private militias This decision came hours after the coalition announced new demonstrations in Guinea and abroad calling for a credible dialogue between the transitional military authorities and opposition parties and civil society On September 5 2021 Guinean army officers from the self proclaimed National Committee for Reconciliation and Development Comit national du rassemblement et du d veloppement CNRD overthrew the government of Alpha Cond In May Colonel Mamady Doumbouya who has headed the military junta since September 2021 pledged to hand over power to civilians within three years But national actors including the FNDC coalition and regional bodies including the Economic Community of West African States ECOWAS rejected this timeline as too long The coalition was founded in April 2019 to protest Cond s plan to revise the constitution and run for a third term The group has faced a spate of intimidation and abuse from the Cond and Doumbouya governments On July 30 and 31 security forces arrested three prominent coalition leaders in Conakry the capital of Guinea and charged them with illegal protest destruction of public and private property assault and battery In May the military junta banned any public demonstration that could be seen as a threat to public order drawing criticism from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights The government s decision to dissolve the coalition violates freedom of expression peaceful assembly and association and democratic participation Human Rights Watch said These rights are guaranteed by international human rights law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Guinea ratified in 1978 and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights In an August 10 statement the coalition called the government s decision illegal unfounded and arbitrary and called for nationwide protests on August 14 Alseny Sall a prominent human rights activist in Conakry told Human Rights Watch This is a huge step back from Guinea s efforts to restore democratic rule after the military takeover and yet another way to silence dissent Guinea s military authorities must immediately reverse their decision and allow the process toward free and fair elections to proceed with full respect for fundamental rights and freedoms Human Rights Watch said Guinea s international partners should denounce this setback and call for a return to political pluralism and democratic rule This attack on anyone who opposes the military government does not bode well for the transition and the upcoming elections Allegrozzi said The Guinean government must undo the dissolution of the FNDC and end interference in opposition parties and civil society
Guinea: Government dissolves opposition coalition

1 Guinea dissolved the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (Front national pour la défense de la Constitution, FNDC), a prominent coalition of Guinean civil society groups and opposition parties, for political reasons on August 8, 2022, noted Human Rights Watch.

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2 This day.

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3 The measure of the Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization of the country seriously harms the return of the country to a genuine democratic government.

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4 The coalition had no opportunity to effectively challenge the decision, which was based on vague and generalized allegations, before an independent judicial body with the authority to overturn the order.

5 “The Guinean transitional government already tightly controls the political space,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

6 “This move against the FNDC will only further undermine democracy by discouraging any meaningful opposition.” The order accuses the coalition of organizing armed public demonstrations, using violence, inciting hatred, and acting as “private militias.”

7 This decision came hours after the coalition announced new demonstrations in Guinea and abroad calling for a credible dialogue between the transitional military authorities and opposition parties and civil society.

8 On September 5, 2021, Guinean army officers from the self-proclaimed National Committee for Reconciliation and Development (*Comité national du rassemblement et du développement, *CNRD) overthrew the government of Alpha Condé.

9 In May, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, who has headed the military junta since September 2021, pledged to hand over power to civilians within three years.

10 But national actors, including the FNDC coalition and regional bodies, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), rejected this timeline as too long.

11 The coalition was founded in April 2019 to protest Condé’s plan to revise the constitution and run for a third term.

12 The group has faced a spate of intimidation and abuse from the Condé and Doumbouya governments.

13 On July 30 and 31, security forces arrested three prominent coalition leaders in Conakry, the capital of Guinea, and charged them with illegal protest, destruction of public and private property, assault and battery.

14 In May, the military junta banned any public demonstration that could be seen as a threat to public order, drawing criticism from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

15 The government’s decision to dissolve the coalition violates freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and democratic participation, Human Rights Watch said.

16 These rights are guaranteed by international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Guinea ratified in 1978, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

17 In an August 10 statement, the coalition called the government’s decision “illegal, unfounded and arbitrary” and called for nationwide protests on August 14.

18 Alseny Sall, a prominent human rights activist in Conakry, told Human Rights Watch: “This is a huge step back from Guinea’s efforts to restore democratic rule after the military takeover and yet another way to silence dissent”.

19 Guinea’s military authorities must immediately reverse their decision and allow the process toward free and fair elections to proceed with full respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, Human Rights Watch said.

20 Guinea’s international partners should denounce this setback and call for a return to political pluralism and democratic rule.

21 “This attack on anyone who opposes the military government does not bode well for the transition and the upcoming elections,” Allegrozzi said.

22 “The Guinean government must undo the dissolution of the FNDC and end interference in opposition parties and civil society.”

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