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Security Council joins UN condemnation of killing of Guinea protesters

1 October 2009 – The Security Council has added its voice to widespread United Nations condemnation of this week’s killing or wounding of hundreds of civilian demonstrators at an opposition rally in Guinea, where some of the protesters were raped by members of the security forces.

Council members voiced their “utmost concern” at reports that security forces killed at least 150 people when they opened fire at the rally, according to a press statement read out yesterday by Ambassador Susan Rice of the United States on behalf of the 15-member panel.

The Council deplored numerous “blatant violations of human rights, including rapes in public streets in broad daylight,” as well as the arrest of opposition party leaders, Ms. Rice said.

The statement urged authorities in Guinea to put an end to the violence, bring the perpetrators to justice and release all political prisoners, and it also called for a prompt return to the rule of law, democracy and constitutional order through elections scheduled for next year.

The Council statement joins similar expressions of condemnation from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who has described the scenes at the rally in the Guinean capital, Conakry, as “a blood bath.”

The International Contact Group on Guinea, which includes Said Djinnit, the head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA) and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the region, has also been insisting on a swift return to constitutional order following the seizing of power last December by Army Captain Moussa Dadis Camara in the wake of the death of Guinea’s long-time president Lansana Conté.

The Security Council, Mr. Ban and the contact group have also stressed the need for members of the military junta, the National Council for Democracy and Development (known by its French acronym, CNDD), to not participate in next year’s election, in line with an earlier commitment given by the junta.

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