Amnesty International has urged Guinean authorities to prevent security forces from repeating the excessive use of force during clashes with protesters ahead of next month’s presidential elections.
In a briefing, entitled ‘Guinea: Preventing the excessive use of force and respecting freedom of peaceful assembly in the 2015 presidential elections and beyond’, the organisation blames Guinean security forces for deaths of six people during protests that took place between April and May this year.
More than 100 protesters were believed to have been injured in demonstrations, while several hundreds were arrested often in circumstances amounting to arbitrary arrest.
Amnesty International West and Central Africa regional director Alioune Tine said: "The killing and injury of demonstrators earlier this year by security forces using excessive and arbitrary force shows how crucial it is for steps to be taken to respect and protect human rights during the election period.
"The challenge for authorities, candidates and security forces is to break the cycle of mistrust and violence.
"They must create the conditions where everyone in Guinea feels safe to exercise their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression and citizens can safely participate in the electoral process."
In addition, the security forces are suspected of having used arbitrary force against journalists covering demonstrations, with Amnesty being informed of several instances where reporters were insulted or beaten whilst reporting on the protests.
Tine said: "Journalists and human rights defenders must be free to carry out their work without unwarranted interference."
According to the organisation, there could be more deaths and injuries during demonstrations ahead of the elections, which are due to be held on 11 October.
Amnesty also called for legal reform after the election to prevent reoccurrence of such violence in the future, enable peaceful assembly, and to ensure accountability for any violation.
According to Amnesty, more than 350 people, including protestors and bystanders were killed and over 1,750 are claimed to have sustained injuries at the hands of Guinean security forces over the last decade.
Image: Demonstrators setting-up a road block with burning tyres and rocks in Bomboli, Conakry,Guinea. Photo: © Private.