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Authorities asked to set up unit to check rights abuses

Amnesty International (AI) has called on the Guinean authorities to set up an independent mechanism to investigate all serious abuses of fundamental rights that have taken place in that country over the last four years.

The mechanism would formulate and publish recommendations concerning the prosecution of any suspected perpetrators, AI said in its report "Guinea: Maintaining order with contempt for the right to life", published on Thursday.

The recommendations should then be followed up by the country's judicial authorities, who should take account of the witness statements gathered by the investigative mechanism in any subsequent criminal proceedings, AI said.

The organisation also called on other countries to condemn excessive use of armed force by the Guinea security forces and to ensure that the military aid and technical assistance they give the Guinean government are not used to facilitate human rights violations.

"Each time political opponents or citizens have dared to show their dissatisfaction with the government, the security forces have not hesitated to fire on crowds of demonstrators, disregarding the genuine risk of loss of human life," the report said.

According to AI, the recurrent nature of excessive use of force and the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of these extra judicial executions demonstrated how the highest state authorities cover and encourage these acts in order to stifle political opposition.

In December 2001,security forces fired live bullets on students who were demanding better conditions of study in several towns throughout the country, AI said. Three people were killed, including Thierno Diallo, a student, and Mody Ousmane Diallo Pettal, a well-digger.

Police brutality is only one in a series of instances documented where Guinean security forces have used excessive force against civilians. More than 20 people, including women and children, have been killed in this way since the presidential election of December 1998, AI added.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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