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Guinea: UN rights chief calls for independent probe into Monday's 'blood bath'

30 September 2009 – Days after security forces opened fire on an opposition rally in Guinea, killing over 130 people, the top United Nations human rights official today called for an independent inquiry into what she described as a “blood bath.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was appalled by reports that women were raped, and members of the opposition were arbitrarily arrested and had their homes looted during the violent suppression of a mass demonstration on 28 September in the capital, Conakry.

“Monday’s blood bath must not become part of the fabric of impunity that has enveloped Guinea for decades,” Ms. Pillay said in a statement strongly condemning the excessive force, including the use of live ammunition, exerted to disperse the largely peaceful crowds.

Noting that the Guinean authorities have announced an inquiry to unveil who gave the orders to fire on demonstrators, Ms. Pillay underscored the need for independent and impartial investigations into all human rights violations, “so that all those responsible for carrying out summary executions, rapes and other human rights violations are brought to justice.”

She also pointed out that under the previous Government numerous similar violations were carried out, in particular in June 2006 and February 2007.

“An independent Commission of Inquiry was established to look into those events,” Ms. Pillay said, “but, due to a lack of political will, it never functioned. Its failure to do so could well be a factor in Monday’s violence and it is essential Guinea does not repeat this failure.”

Army Captain Moussa Dadis Camara seized power of the West African nation in a coup in December 2008 after the death of Guinea’s long-time president Lansana Conté.

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