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UN calls on Guinea’s junta to lift ban on protests

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The United Nations on Monday urged Guinea to lift a ban on political protests that the west African country’s military rulers introduced earlier this month.

A military junta has led Guinea since army officers led by Colonel Mamady Doumbouya ousted elected president Alpha Conde in September last year.

The junta banned political protests on May 13 after announcing a three-year transition period before civilian rule is restored.

“We call on the Guinean transitional authorities to revoke the ban they have imposed on public demonstrations,” the UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Seif Magango said in a statement.

“We encourage the transitional authorities to ensure real and meaningful protection of democratic space – including by upholding the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly,” he added.

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The junta’s measures “violate international human rights norms and standards and constitute a setback in the path to strengthening democracy and the rule of law”, he said. 

The UN also expressed concern over other measures, including “the demolition of private properties” in the capital Conakry, Siguiri in the northeast and Nzerekore in the southeast.

The process was “reportedly aimed at recovering public land” but happened “at a time when appeals were still pending before the courts”, Magango said.

The junta’s proposal for a three-year transition period is in defiance of regional partners in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which calls for a swifter timetable.

The West African bloc suspended Guinea’s membership after the coup.

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