29 September 2009

Guinea: Statement of the African Union on Events in Conakry

press release

The Commission of the African Union (AU) expresses grave concern over the situation in Guinea, in particular the repression by the security and armed forces of a peaceful rally organized yesterday by the “Forum des Forces Vives” at the Stadium of 28 September 2009, in Conakry.

The Commission strongly condemns the indiscriminate firing on unarmed civilians, which left dozens dead and many others injured, while serious other violations of human rights were committed. The Commission reiterates the principles of the AU regarding the fight against impunity, and underlines the personal responsibility and accountability of the perpetrators of the killings and other violations of human rights, and of those who ordered them. The Commission expresses its condolences to the families of the victims and its solidarity with the people of Guinea in this trying moment in its history.

The Commission demands the unconditional and immediate release of those arrested, including leaders of political parties and their supporters, and urges the de facto authorities of Guinea to respect the freedom of expression, assembly and organization of political parties to which they committed themselves on several occasions.

The Commission notes that yesterday's repression occurred in a context marked by serious uncertainties and setbacks in the process for the restoration of constitutional order in Guinea, particularly in relation to the commitments made by the President of the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), and on the basis of which ECOWAS and the AU, with the support of their international partners, decided to back efforts to restore legality in Guinea.

The Commission recalls that, in its communiqué dated 18 September 2009, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the AU, inter alia, gave to the President of the CNDD one month to formally confirm his commitment and that of the other members of the CNDD and the Prime Minister not to run for office in the upcoming presidential election and to observe the neutrality expected of them in the conduct of the electoral process.

In this respect, the Commission is preparing a report on the developments in Guinea and possible measures to be taken, including sanctions, in the light of the decision of the PSC and the most recent events in Conakry.

At the same time, consultations will be initiated immediately with ECOWAS, as well as with the members of the International Contact Group on Guinea and other AU partners, to coordinate action and response to yesterday’s events.

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