Skip to content

Truth-Telling and Violence in Guinea

GIJTR’s programming in Guinea builds the capacity of CSOs and survivors to engage in issues of truth, justice and reconciliation in an informed and sustained manner. Through GIJTR’s technical and financial support, local partners have been able to build their organizational capacities, develop trusting relationships, and coordinate efforts, all in an effort to maximize their impact in support of a holistic transitional justice process and atrocity prevention.

Project Overview

Context

Since its independence in 1958, Guinea has experienced ongoing cycles of violence characterized by massive human rights violations, violent transitions of power and ethnic and political tensions that have been further exacerbated by authoritarian rulers who failed to hold perpetrators accountable and allowed a culture of impunity to flourish. In 2008, a group of military officers, led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, seized power immediately after the death of the previous president and established the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), which went on to commit serious human rights abuses. On September 28, 2009, CNDD forces opened fire on a group of peaceful protestors – a massacre in which 156 civilians were killed and at least 109 women and girls were raped by security forces. The protest that preceded the September 28 Stadium Massacre, as it would come to be known, had been organized by civil society leaders and opposition party leaders to denounce a long delay in holding elections and the military’s refusal to hand over power to civilians. The scale of the violence and the organization of democratic elections in 2010 led to renewed calls for accountability and reparations for survivors, in the hopes of building a more just and stable future.

Project Details

The GIJTR is working with three local partners,  the Guinean Human Rights Organization (OGDH), the Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of the September 28 Massacre (AVIPA), and the Youth Consortium for the Defense of the Rights of Victims of Violence (COJEDEV), to undertake a series of interventions around truth, justice and reconciliation, guided by recommendations made in the country’s Provisional Commission for Reflection on National Reconciliation (CPRN) report. The GIJTR’s programming in Guinea aims to build the capacity of CSOs and survivors to advocate for and engage in a holistic national reconciliation process, while working with diverse groups, including women, youth and journalists to carry out community-based truth-telling, remembrance and atrocity prevention activities informed by local needs. Through the GIJTR’s technical and financial support, local partners have been able to build their organizational capacities, develop trusting relationships, and coordinate efforts, all in an effort to maximize their impact. Throughout this project, the GIJTR is also working to bring together local, national and international actors to support truth and reconciliation efforts in Guinea.

Context

Since its independence in 1958, Guinea has experienced ongoing cycles of violence characterized by massive human rights violations, violent transitions of power and ethnic and political tensions that have been further exacerbated by authoritarian rulers who failed to hold perpetrators accountable and allowed a culture of impunity to flourish. In 2008, a group of military officers, led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara, seized power immediately after the death of the previous president and established the National Council for Democracy and Development (CNDD), which went on to commit serious human rights abuses. On September 28, 2009, CNDD forces opened fire on a group of peaceful protestors – a massacre in which 156 civilians were killed and at least 109 women and girls were raped by security forces. The protest that preceded the September 28 Stadium Massacre, as it would come to be known, had been organized by civil society leaders and opposition party leaders to denounce a long delay in holding elections and the military’s refusal to hand over power to civilians. The scale of the violence and the organization of democratic elections in 2010 led to renewed calls for accountability and reparations for survivors, in the hopes of building a more just and stable future.

Project Details

The GIJTR is working with three local partners,  the Guinean Human Rights Organization (OGDH), the Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of the September 28 Massacre (AVIPA), and the Youth Consortium for the Defense of the Rights of Victims of Violence (COJEDEV), to undertake a series of interventions around truth, justice and reconciliation, guided by recommendations made in the country’s Provisional Commission for Reflection on National Reconciliation (CPRN) report. The GIJTR’s programming in Guinea aims to build the capacity of CSOs and survivors to advocate for and engage in a holistic national reconciliation process, while working with diverse groups, including women, youth and journalists to carry out community-based truth-telling, remembrance and atrocity prevention activities informed by local needs. Through the GIJTR’s technical and financial support, local partners have been able to build their organizational capacities, develop trusting relationships, and coordinate efforts, all in an effort to maximize their impact. Throughout this project, the GIJTR is also working to bring together local, national and international actors to support truth and reconciliation efforts in Guinea.

Project Objectives

Support civil society in advocating for the rights of survivors

Support Guinean civil society to address the needs of survivors and advocate for transitional justice mechanisms by sharing the experiences of other contexts, engaging them on issues related to international best practices, and building capacity for civil society engagement with domestic policy related to transitional justice.

Build the capacity of community leaders to prevent violence

Build the capacity of key stakeholders, including religious leaders, journalists, women and youth to raise awareness within local communities about the wide-ranging impacts of past violations and their role as leaders in promoting truth, justice and reconciliation goals.

Document narratives of the past and facilitate intergenerational dialogue

Provide spaces for dialogue, remembrance and reflection about the past and encourage exchange between survivors and youth with the goal of violence prevention and empathy-building.

Provide psychosocial support capacity-building

Provide psychosocial support to survivors of human rights violations to address their urgent needs and train civil society psychosocial support practitioners to promote broader community healing.

Justice from the Ground Up

GIJTR starts at the bottom before getting to the top. That’s what’s unique about their work. They start by bringing together victims, defenders of human rights and journalists to address the problems within their communities.

Mamadou Boussourio Diallo

Activist and GIJTR Workshop Participant, Guinea
Participants in a dialogue exercise during a violence prevention workshop in Conakry, Guinea in May 2017.
Celeste Matross from the Centre for Violence and Reconciliation, a GIJTR parter in South Africa, leads a training on self-care for civil society organizations, journalists and other activists in July 2018.
Supported by a GIJTR sub-grant, this painting depicts a young survivor's memory of conflict in the country.
Religious leaders participate in a GIJTR training on transitional justice and violence prevention in Conakry.
Participants and GIJTR staff celebrate after a exhibit of artwork by local civil society organizations in July 2018 in Conakry.
A 2018 press conference brought together local, regional and international actors to raise awareness of truth and justice initiatives in the country.

Advocacy and Awareness

With support from GIJTR, local partners joined together to form CONAREG - the National Coalition in Support of Reconciliation in Guinea - and produce this documentary which shares victims' testimonies to raise awareness of socio-political unrest in Guinea from independence to the present day.