Below is a statement by our friends at Alliance Guinea on the occasion of Pres. Alpha Conde's recent visit to the White House with Pres. Obama.
NB: Une version en francais de cette declaration est disponible ici.
Dear President Obama:
As a nonpartisan organization of Guineans and friends of Guinea in America and around the world, Alliance Guinea wishes to thank you for your ongoing commitment to promoting a peaceful and democratic transition to civilian rule in Guinea. Your meeting on Friday with President Alpha Condé is a time to both celebrate Guinea’s significant progress toward a democratic state and to remind your counterpart that democracy cannot be accomplished with the grave curtailments of human rights and civic freedoms seen since he took office. Our analysis of the situation in Guinea and in the diaspora community suggests that unless these issues are addressed immediately, Guinea stands to lose all of the gains it has made to date – slipping back into authoritarianism and possibly even civil war that could endanger the entire sub-region. The consequences of such backsliding would be made all the worse by the loss of faith among citizens in the value of democratic elections.
Specifically, Alliance Guinea respectfully asks that you take advantage of this meeting with President Condé to address the following issues of great concern to all Guineans and friends of Guinea who wish to see the country realize true democracy, peace and sustainable development:
The attack against President Condé’s family residence is deeply troubling. But regardless of who is responsible, it must not be used as justification to conduct extra-judicial arrests and intimidation against those thought to oppose his administration. All those who have been arrested without due process should be openly charged or released, and violence against opposition members, media and business professionals must stop.
Legislative elections must be held before the end of the year, and in a safe and open atmosphere that facilitates campaigning across the country by all eligible candidates and allows all registered citizens to cast their votes in peace, and have that vote be counted.
The recent ban of all media coverage of the attacks against President Condé’s residence – as well as of all political talk shows of any kind in Guinea – must not be repeated.* It is essential that freedoms of press and expression, together with all civic rights protected by the Guinean constitution, be hereafter guaranteed for all Guineans.
Real dialogue must be held with members of the opposition parties in Guinea in order to ensure an open political environment as well as collaborative promotion of sustainable development in the country.
The grave and worsening ethnic tensions in Guinea should be addressed by the president, setting the example in reaching out to members of all ethnic and regional communities to promote inter-community dialogue and reconciliation.
The victims of the September 2009 atrocities and previous state crimes have yet to see justice. A truth commission or other process must be established to end the culture of impunity in Guinea.
As the historic opposition standard bearer in Guinea and winner of its first democratic elections, President Condé has an unprecedented opportunity to champion true democracy and to lead Guinea on a path that allows it to develop its incredible potential. As a leader for democracy in the world, the United States should take a stand in calling on President Condé to seize this opportunity and conduct state affairs with respect for his own constitution, international human rights treaties and the promises made to the Guinean people.
President Obama, thank you for your consideration and commitment to peace and democracy in Guinea.