Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 14:54 GMT

State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2011 - Guinea

Publisher Minority Rights Group International
Publication Date 6 July 2011
Cite as Minority Rights Group International, State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2011 - Guinea, 6 July 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e16d372c.html [accessed 23 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Presidential elections in 2010 offered Guineans their first real opportunity to choose their own leaders, after successive dictatorships following independence from France. When Lansana Conté, president for 24 years, died in 2008, a military coup followed. Its leader, Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, promised elections but then announced his intention to run. A peaceful demonstration by tens of thousands of opposition supporters at a Conakry stadium in September 2009 was brutally dispersed by security forces and militia. In several days of violence at least 150 people were killed and scores of women raped. More than 1,500 were wounded, and many others detained. The majority of victims were reported to be from the majority Peuhl (Fula) ethnic group.

The events were placed under preliminary examination by the ICC. In February the deputy prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced her belief that 'crimes constituting crimes against humanity were committed'.

In December 2009 Dadis left the country after being shot by an aide. His deputy, General Sékouba Konaté, joined with opposition groups to form an interim government. He announced elections for mid 2010 and promised that no serving member of government would be allowed to stand. The first round of the elections, in July, was predominantly peaceful. Former prime minister Cellou Dalein Diallo, a Peuhl, won 43 per cent of the vote in June, so he and the runner-up, opposition leader Alpha Condé, moved to a second round in November.

The contest between Diallo and Condé, a Malinké, fuelled existing tensions between their ethnic groups. Guinea's first president, Ahmed Sekou Touré, a Malinké, led the country from independence in 1958 until 1984, and those from his ethnic group held relatively favoured status during his tenure. He distrusted the Peuhl, however, and they suffered disproportionately under what became an increasingly autocratic and brutal state. Though they represent the country's largest ethnic group, a Peuhl has never led the country, and many Diallo supporters felt that this situation was due to change.

The 15 November run-off was carried out fairly peacefully, and international observers said that it appeared free and fair. However, violence erupted after Condé was found to have won by a narrow margin. A state of emergency was declared, imposing a curfew and granting security forces extra powers. Inter-communal violence, as well as violations by security forces accused of systematic attacks against Peuhls, reportedly resulted in at least seven deaths and several hundred people injured. However, the new government was installed peacefully. At year's end President Condé named himself defence minister. He promised to reform the military and to organize a truth and reconciliation commission to address past human rights violations.

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