Guinea-Bissau Guinea Bissau: Promotion Mission, 2005

Dates:16 - 22 March 2005
Session:38th Ordinary Session
21 November - 5 December 2005. Banjul, Gambia
Commissioner: Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwa

Commisioner E.V.O. Dankwa, the Commissioner responsible for promotional activities in the Republic of Guinea-Bissau undertook a Promotional Mission to the Republic from 16 to 22 March 2005. The objective of the visit was to hold meetings with various stakeholders in the country drawn from the Government, NGOs, Community Based Organisations, International Organisations, and the media on the situation of human rights in the country. The visit also aimed to pulicise the African Commission and its work in the promotion and protection of human and peoples' rights.

Recommendations

The Mission is acutely aware of the significant social, economic, and political challenges facing the Government and people of Guinea Bissau, and makes the recommendations below in the belief that, if implemented, they will contribute towards addressing the challenges and problems faced by Guinea Bissau. The recommendations to the Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau apply to both the current transitional government and subsequent governments alike.

To the Government:

  1. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should fulfil its obligation under Articel 62 of the Charter and submit its long overdue initial State Report to the African Commission;
  2. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau must, as far as possible, involve all Government Department with responsibility for the promotion and protection of human rights, oppostion parties, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the private media in the preparation of the Republic's reports to be submitted to the African Commission so as to ensure that they are truly reflective of the human rights situation in the country;
  3. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should ratify the Protocol to the African Charter on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, and the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa;
  4. As a State Party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should take an interest in the work of the African Commission and endeavour, among others, to take  part in the latter's Ordinary Sessions;
  5. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau shoudl establish an independent National Human Rights Commision in accordance with the Paris Principles relating to the status and functioning of national institutions for the protection and promotion of human rights;
  6. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should outline clear guidelines on access to governmental institutions; It should also strive towards the maintenance of an effective and independent media;
  7. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should formulate policies to deal with the serious issue of limited number of Judges and Magistrates and prisons and places of detention in the country. It should, in particular, enhance and strengthen the independence and impartialiy of the judiciary by trianing judges, prosecutors, lawyers and police personnel, with a view to promote and protect human rights and ensure the rule of law. In this regard, it is also encouraged to explore ways to extend free legal aid to indigents;
  8. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should continue with the reform of its army and other security forces with a view to ending military intervention in  the governance of the country;
  9.  It should also ensure the progressive training of law enforcement  personnel such as the Police and Prison officers according to international standards;
  10. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should formulate a plan to ensure speedy trial before the court;
  11. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should guarantee as per the Republic's obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and its own constituion freedom of religion so that no religion is discriminated against;
  12. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, in collaboration with its development partners, NGO's, IGO's, and CSO's, should work towards improving the living conditions of its citizens with a view to minimize their vulnerability to to violence, empower them to sustain themselves and eventually bring them out of poverty;
  13. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau, should ensure that human rights concerns are factored into all government policies and their implemations,
  14. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should set out guidelines and measures that will safeguard and encourage the independent functioning of the three arms of government: the executive, legislative, and judiciary;
  15. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should ensure increased and equitable participation of women in decision-making processes including holding high governmental offices and ministerial positions;
  16. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should outlaw FGM and other harmful traditional practices. It should also take specific measures to counter social pressures against reporting domestic violence, rape, incest, and other forms of violence against women;
  17. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau is encouraged to abolish the death penalty;
  18. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should include civic and human rights Education in the cirricular of all educational institutions towards the nurturing and building of a culture of respect of human rights in the country;
  19. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau shoudl strengthen the Prosecutor General's Office which continues to fight corruption in the country. It should ensure that the Office has all the resources it needs to carry out its mandate;
  20. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should intensify its efforts towards raising public awareness of the scourge of HIV-AIDS; in particular, government campaign should target such vulnerable groups as the youth, women, and the girl child;
  21. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau shoudl strive to ensure a reliable power supply in the country, which seems to affect the operation of the industry, domestic life and private and public media/broadcasters to effectively reach out and educate the public;
  22. The Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau should continue with its determination to enhance political dialogue and promote national reconciliation, within the perimeters of the need to respect the rule of law and human rights.

To the Parliament of Guinea Bissau:

  1. While noting the importance of the prevention of conflict and the need to ensrure reconciliation for social cohesion, the National Assembly of the Republic of Guinea-Bissau is urged to take into account the justifiable quest for justice and the fight against impunity when considering amnesty for individuals and military personnel that were involved in the civil unrest;

To the Government and Private Media:

  1. Both the Government and Private Media should perform their duties with the utmost diligence and professionalism called for in the practice, always remembering that they have both rights and duties;
  2. Both the Government and Private Media should disseminate accurate information and educate the public about human and peoples’ rights, the culture of peace generally and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights particularly;
To the International Community:
  1. The International Community at large should assist the Government of the Republic of Guinea Bissau in its peace-building and reconciliation efforts. In particular, the international community is encouraged to support the Government and the people of Guinea Bissau in their efforts to bring about reform and address the immense challenges they continue to face in the various sectors of the society including the military;

To the NGOs, CSOs and IGOs:

  1. NGOs and CSOs are encouraged to strongly advocate for and educate the public on a democratic Guinea Bissau where human rights are respected and the ballot box, as opposed to the bullet, is used to change governments; they are also encouraged to assist the government with reference to its task under the paragraph above;
  2. UNOGBIS should work towards leaving behind a prosperous and peaceful Guinea Bissau that is able and willing to effectively address tendencies disruptive of democratic order. It is commended for its endeavour to support the efforts of all national and international stakeholders with a view to enable the Republic attain full constitutional normalcy, including through the holding of free and transparent presidential elections slated for April 2005.



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