Monday, November 30, 2009

[Guinean news] Prominent human rights activist arrested; ICG head calls Dadis unstable

According to the Voice of America, Mouctar Diallo, a prominent Guinean human rights' activist, was arrested by soldiers in Conakry. The head of Guinea's main human rights' advocacy organization says Diallo was arrested because of an interview he gave to the Voice of America on September 28th -- the day soldiers opened fire on protestors in the capital's main sports stadium.

The arrest is seen as an attempt to intimidate potential witnesses, as the United Nations' inquiry into the Sept. 28 massacres began work a week and a half ago.

In an op-ed in The New York Times, International Crisis Group president Louise Arbour called on the main mediator, Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaoré, to stick to the West African regional bloc ECOWAS' main initial objective: managing the junta's exit from power. Arbour, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, warned that junta leader Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara "gives signs of mental instability" but warns that attempts to replace him with another general might fracture the military's already shaky unity.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

[Advocacy news] Pro-democracy march in NYC on Dec. 8

From: Alliance Guinea

This is far from over - the latest news out of Guinea is a proposed deal that would have the CNDD junta heading a "national transition council" for up to 10 months and open the door for Dadis to stand in elections. At the same time, the UN is beginning the work of the international commission of inquiry into the crimes of September 28, but it's clear that more international pressure against the military and support for the population is needed.

Here in New York Alliance Guinea has joined forces with the Guinean Forces Vives in the US and our friends Kadiatou Diallo and Norman Siegel of the Amadou Diallo Foundation to form the "September 28 Coalition for Justice and Democracy in Guinea."

Together we are organizing a march and rally on Tuesday, December 8 from 11am - 3pm to demand justice for the crimes committed and support for a speedy and democratic transition to civilian rule in Guinea. At 11am we will gather in front of the Guinean consulate at 140 E. 39th St., marching then to 47th Street and rallying by noon at Dag Hammarskjold Park in front of the United Nations. See Stay tuned for a list of expected speakers.

If you live far from New York and cannot join us in person, here are two things you can still do:

1. Make a donation – help us offset the cost of the rally (permits, transport, stage & sound system costs, etc.) through our new online giving button at Check it out and pass the word – every gift counts!

2. Write a letter (again!) to your local newspaper or Congressperson/Member of Parliament and tell them about the march and how the latest news out of Guinea confirms the critical need for international pressure and support is critical to getting justice and preventing what could spiral into civil war. For sample letters and other tips, see

And if you are in the New York area and can’t make it during lunch hour on Tuesday, don’t miss for what is going to be an amazing "Musique contre la Violence" unity night in Harlem on December 9 at 8pm at Shrine in Harlem with some of the greatest masters of Guinean music living in America and guest speakers from the September 28 Coalition.

The situation in Guinea is just as dire as ever, and justice must be served and the military must go. As those of us here in the US gather for Thanksgiving this week, let us give thanks for the freedoms we enjoy and continue to do all we can to help our friends and family enjoy the same.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekly Twitter update (Nov. 19-25)

Note: This is a new weekly series of blog entries highlighting selected stories from FOG's Twitter feed. This is for the benefit of blog readers who do not subscribe to Twitter. However those that are interested are encouraged to subscribe our Twitter feed to get all stories by going to and clicking 'follow'.

-Uncertainty over toxic chemicals in Conakry (IRIN)

-[South African] Mercenaries complicate peace bid (

-Guinea: Opposition rejects peace deal (Africa News)

-Unearthing the truth of Guinea 'bloodbath' (BBC)

-L'élection présidentielle est "techniquement impossible" à organiser le 31 janvier (Jeune Afrique)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

[Advocacy news] Photos of march in Washington

RPCV Claire Lea pointed out this site that has photos of the recent march in Washington protesting the Guinean junta.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weekly Twitter update (11/12-11/18)

Note: I'm beginning a weekly series of blog entries highlighting selected stories from FOG's Twitter feed. This is for the benefit of blog readers who do not wish to subscribe to the feed. However those that are interested are encouraged to subscribe our Twitter feed to get all stories by going to and clicking 'follow'.

Some stories from the last seven days... to view any of the stories, just click on the tite...

-Dissolution of the Guinean national soccer team for poor results and indiscipline (in French) --

-South Africans 'training Guinea junta' -- Johannesburg Daily Mail & Guardian

-Dadis creates his own political party (in French) -- Web Guinée

-Moussa Conte is the second son of the Guinea's former president to be charged with drugs trafficking -- BBC WS Focus on Africa

-Guinea Military Threatens Problems if Current Leader is Forced Out -- Voice of America

-Guinea: after the massacre, the economy suffocated -- Eco89

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

"Thousands in Washington call for justice, with women in the lead"

From: Alliance Guinea (reposted with permission)

Thousands in Washington call for justice, with women in the lead
With a huge showing of women in the lead, an estimated 5000 people from at least 11 states across the east coast and Midwest – Guineans and friends of Guinea – marched in front of the White House and to the US State Department today to increase awareness of the atrocities of September 28 and to demand justice for the victims and help for a transition to democratic elections in Guinea. The marchers highlighted in particular the horrific violence committed against women that day and made it clear that these sacrifices must not be in vain.

In addition to the march, members of the Movement of Guinean Women in the United States and the Guinean Forces Vives in the US met with staff at the State Department where they fully briefed the African bureau on the current situation in Guinea and discussed strategies for continued U.S. support of an end to military rule in the country. In addition, a second delegation of Guinean civil society members and American friends of Guinea met with the staff of key offices on Capitol Hill to raise awareness of the situation in Congress and garner additional support.

Submitted this letter in the name of the Movement of Guinean Women and Guinean Forces Vives in the US and Alliance Guinea, clearly making the case for why action is needed now and what further steps the United States in particular can take to accelerate the transition.

In addition to people residing in Washington DC, marchers came in from Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Ohio, Indiana, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland, with 17 buses from New York alone to show unity and solidarity for the people of Guinea and demand that action be taken now in the name of human rights and democracy.

Were you at the march? What was it like to express your views in front of the White House, State Department, and US Congress? Share with us your experiences here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

[Guinean news] Sept. 28 massacre was 'premeditated': HRW

Just a reminder that readers are encouraged to subscribe to Friends of Guinea's Twitter feed. Just go to and follow:

I post there links to news articles and columns related to the Guinea, Peace Corps and other stories that may be of interest to FOG members. Since I am usually just re-posting what I've found elsewhere, the Twitter feed gets updated more often than this blog, several times a week (But don't worry, any updates to this blog are also posted there).

One of the most prominent stories since the infamous Sept. 28 massacre was a report by Human Rights Watch (found here) which concluded that the massacre was in fact premeditated.

This is in stark contrast to claims by junta leader Capt. Moussa Dadis Camara that the killings were committed by out-of-control elements of the army and presidential guards and were not indicative of anything systematic. Dadis also claimed that the actions were in response to "provocation" by demonstrators protesting his decision to run in next January's presidential election.

HRW wrote that it found that members of the Presidential Guard carried out a premeditated massacre of at least 150 people on September 28 and brutally raped dozens of women. Red berets shot at opposition supporters until they ran out of bullets, then continued to kill with bayonets and knives.

The Africa director of HRW said, "Security forces surrounded and blockaded the stadium, then stormed in and fired at protesters in cold blood until they ran out of bullets. They carried out grisly gang rapes and murders of women in full sight of the commanders. That’s no accident."

HRW also discounted claims that the massacre was provoked.

Witness accounts and video evidence obtained by Human Rights Watch showing the stadium crowd just before the shooting shows a peaceful and celebratory atmosphere with opposition supporters singing, dancing, marching around the stadium with posters and the Guinean flag, and even praying.

Human Rights Watch has not seen any evidence that any opposition supporters were armed, and no security officials were wounded by opposition supporters at the stadium, suggesting that there was no legitimate threat posed by the opposition supporters that required the violence that followed.

Witnesses said that as soon as the Presidential Guard entered the stadium, its members began firing point-blank directly into the massive crowd of protesters, killing dozens and sowing panic.

The NGO also warned of an ethnic nature behind the killings, noting that majority of the victims were from the Peuhl ethnic group, which is almost exclusively Muslim, while most of the commanders at the stadium – and indeed key members of the ruling CNDD, including Camara, the coup leader – belong to ethnic groups from the southeastern forest region, which are largely Christian or animist.