Sunday, July 31, 2011

[Peace Corps Guinea news] PCG videos

Below are two cool YouTube videos on Peace Corps Guinea...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

[Guinean news] Statement by Alliance Guinea on Pres. Conde's visit to Washington

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.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

[Guinean news] President survives assassination attempts; coup attempt?

Guinean president Alpha Conde survived a middle of the night assassination attempt in which his residence in Conakry was assaulted with bullets and rockets. Three people were killed, including one bodyguard, according to the presidency.

The Canadian Press reported that: Conde was saved because he was sleeping in a different room when the shooting erupted outside his residence at around 3 a.m. Rocket-propelled grenades landed inside the compound and one of his bodyguards was killed, said Francois Louceny Fall, Conde's chief of staff. The bedroom was ripped apart, Conde told French radio RFI.

A second attack on his residence was launched hours later while Conde was meeting with the French ambassador.

Soldiers were quickly deployed throughout the capital.

The CP added: Country watchers had long predicted that holding a democratic vote would be only a first step in ending the army's stranglehold on Guinea. The bigger question is how the new leader relates to the military, whose members had total control of state affairs and who saw their privileges diminished by the election of a civilian president.

Amazingly, the size of the Guinean military quadrupled in the final years of the military junta.

Gen. Nouhou Thiam was one of those arrested, according to police. Thiam was army chief under the previous military regime and one of Conde's first acts was to replace him.

Guinea expert Mike McGovern at Yale University said, "It sounds like a coup attempt from within the army."

Reports indicate that activity in Conakry largely ground to a halt on Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

[Guinean news] No delay on legislative elections, says AG

The advocacy group Alliance Guinea has called on President Alpha Conde to hold free and fair legislative elections before the end of 2011. The organization has urged the president to abandon the idea of having another national census before legislative elections, to ensure the neutrality of government officials and to encourage an open dialogue on the electoral process.

Their full press release can be read here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

[Peace Corps news] New PCV security legislation introduced

In response to a controversy earlier this year regarding apparent poor handling by the Peace corps of incidents of rape and sexual assault of PCVs, legislation has been introduced by both the federal House of Representatives and the Senate intended to provide better security and protection measures for Volunteers.

According to the National Peace Corps Association, the House legislation would require sexual assault risk-reduction and response training, the development of sexual assault protocol and guidelines, the establishment of victims advocates, and the establishment of a Sexual Assault Advisory Council.

The Senate legislation is "nearly identical," according to the NPCA.