The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), an international coalition of human rights organizations, warns that Guinean authorities are using the country’s state of emergency to suppress opposition political groups and human rights activists. Opponents of the controversial referendum to amend the national constitution enacted on April 7 have faced arrests, arbitrary detainment, judicial harassment, and acts of intimidation.
Collectively, these political opponents refer to themselves as the National Front for the Defense of the Constitution (FNDC), whose leadership has been held without due process for more than two months now. The FNDC rejected the legitimacy of Guinea’s newly elected national assembly and opposed the constitutional referendum for fears it would allow Presiden Alpha Condé to run again for a third term. Although the Guinean constitution limits presidents to two terms, the ratification of a new constitution effectively resets the clock, which would allow Condé to run again in 2026.
The arrests of dissidents is especially concerning given the crowded conditions in prisons.
The FIDH has also raised concerns over several deaths last week linked to protests over roadblocks set up by security forces to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The pandemic’s presence in Guinea coupled with escalating arrests of political dissidents is especially concerning given the crowded conditions in Guinean prisons, which have already reported infections.