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Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2007 - Equatorial Guinea

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Author Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Publication Date 19 June 2008
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders Annual Report 2007 - Equatorial Guinea, 19 June 2008, available at: [accessed 22 November 2017]
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.

Political context

Despite the 1991 Constitution that legalised the multiparty system, the Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (Partido Democrático de Guinea Ecuatorial) maintained its hegemony over the country, whose economy is based on substantial oil resources. Symbolically, on December 31, 2007, in his end of year speech, President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, while speaking about the parliamentary elections scheduled for March 2008, asked parties for "transparency, legality, nationalism, and consensus with the Government to prove their political maturity to international public opinion and to avoid absurd interventions by those who believe themselves the masters of democracy". This intervention reveals the insincerity of public statements calling for the return of exiles with promises of tolerance and reintegration in the country.

In addition, the Concluding Observations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which had reviewed the situation in the country in the absence of a report in 2004 – no report has been submitted since 1988 despite State obligations – remained on the agenda. The Committee expressed its concern over the systematic use of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials, as well as arbitrary detentions, including those in quasi-illegal detention centres.1 The judiciary is also characterised by a complete lack of independence. If a law has since been passed in 2006 to prevent, prohibit and punish torture, it seems to be largely ignored.2

A total lack of freedom for defenders, particularly trade unionists

Despite the ratification of ILO Conventions on freedom of association, the Government has not submitted a report since 1998, does not recognize independent unions and denies them registration. For example, the Trade Union of Workers of Equatorial Guinea (Unión Sindical de Trabajadores de Guinea Ecuatorial) is obliged to carry out its activities underground, and the Independent Union of services (Sindica to Independiente de Servicios) could not be regularised because the Government is opposed to the word "independent". This situation renders any denunciation of working conditions impossible.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders is a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH).

1 See the Concluding Observations on the situation of civil and political rights in Equatorial Guinea by the United Nations Committee on Human Rights, UN document CCPR/CO/79/GNQ, August 13, 2004.

2 See Law n° 6/2006, adopted on November 2, 2006.

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