Covering events from January - December 2002

Head of state: Lansana Conté
Head of government: Lamine Sidimé
Death penalty: retentionist
International Criminal Court: signed

Abuses of the rights of refugees from neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone continued to be the main human rights concern in the country. In February a report by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Save the Children UK exposed the high risk of sexual exploitation of refugee and internally displaced women and girls by international and national agency workers.


Long-delayed legislative elections were held in June and the ruling Parti de l'unité et du progrès (PUP), Party of Unity and Progress, won more than a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly. The European Union refused to fund or monitor the elections as irregularities were feared. Twelve political parties participated but afterwards some claimed that the elections had been rigged and that voters had been intimidated and threatened by government officials.

A new coalition of opposition parties, the Front républicain pour l'alternance démocratique, Republican Front for Democratic Change, boycotted the elections and claimed there had been massive fraud. Intimidation and threats by government officials against voters during the elections as well as some cases of violence and excessive use of force by the security forces were reported. A day after the election results were announced, President Lansana Conté banned all street demonstrations.

In November, on the occasion of Army Day, President Conté strongly criticized organized crime and all those who wore army uniforms to commit armed robberies. In his speech he ordered the security forces to shoot anyone wearing military uniform caught in the act of stealing.


Refugees fleeing armed conflict in neighbouring countries including Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia continued to cross the border into Guinea – around 30,000 entered the country during the year. However, in some cases Guinean security forces closed the border to refugees in violation of the principle of non-refoulement, which prohibits the forcible return of people to a country where their life or freedom would be in danger. Guinea was host to more than 90,000 refugees from Liberia and Sierra Leone, the vast majority of whom were assisted in camps run by the UNHCR. It was reported that the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), a Liberian armed opposition group, forcibly recruited refugees in refugee camps in Guinea and prevented Liberians from entering Guinea.

In February a report of the UNHCR and Save the Children-UK exposed grave concerns that humanitarian workers from international and local non-governmental organizations as well as UN agencies were reportedly sexually exploiting women and girls from Liberia and Sierra Leone. The sexual favours were reportedly obtained in exchange for humanitarian aid. In October the UN Office for Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) concluded that "the impression given in the [UNHCR and Save the Children-UK] report that sexual exploitation by aid workers, in particular sex for services, was widespread is misleading and untrue" after it had carried out a six-month investigation into allegations of sexual exploitation in the three countries of the Mano River Union – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. AI was concerned, however, that the terms of reference of the OIOS report were too limited.


Alcoumba Diallo, editor of the weekly Aurore, was arrested on 30 January and released two days later without charge or trial. Shortly before his arrest, he published an article claiming that some Guinean navy ships belonged to relatives of President Conté.

Refugees were arrested and released after a few days on the intervention of humanitarian organizations.

Military, security and police transfers

Reports issued during the year by the UN Panel of Experts on Liberia stated that Guinea had supported the LURD with cross-border artillery fire in 2001 and that Guinean liaison officers had crossed into Lofa County to assess LURD's progress. Its October report contained information on LURD members stationed in Guinean border towns and on mortar ammunition rounds reaching the LURD which had originally been supplied to Guinea as military assistance by the United Arab Emirates. The Guinean authorities denied supporting the LURD.

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