Guinea Program Empowers Communities to Undertake Reconciliation Efforts

September 2012

Guineans in the subprefecture of Saramoussaya gather to begin a dialogue about how their community should deal with past human rights abuses.

Guineans in the subprefecture of Saramoussaya gather to begin a dialogue about how their community should deal with past human rights abuses.

In December 2010, professor Alpha Condé was sworn in as Guinea’s first democratically elected president after a succession of authoritarian governments, whose leaders suppressed opposition and entrenched corruption and impunity. This predicament has created a vast gap between the rich and the poor, eroded public trust in state institutions and contributed to a range of ethnic tensions—which threaten Guinea’s stability. During his inauguration speech, President Condé promised to pursue national reconciliation using the accomplishments of Nelson Mandela as his inspiration. In August 2011, he created a national provisional committee charged with formulating a set of recommendations to further reconciliation. Yet for reconciliation to be successful, this national-level effort must be combined with local-level initiatives that allow communities to determine their own paths to addressing past abuses and repairing social bonds.

The ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI), with funding from the United States Agency for International Development, is partnering with Les Mêmes Droits pour Tous (Equal Rights for All) to support communities in Mamou, Middle Guinea, in developing local-level reconciliation processes. In August 2012, participating communities gathered to nominate a local committee to organize a series of discussions about justice and reconciliation. Ultimately, the community will design and adopt an action plan that offers a road-map for reconciliation and that outlines both those activities the community can undertake on its own and those types of support the community will need from regional and national-level actors. ABA ROLI hopes that this approach, if successful, can be used to encourage local-level reconciliation initiatives both in other areas of Guinea and in other transitioning states. To capture the lessons-learned during the program, ABA ROLI will publish a guide that describes the process followed in Guinea and how it might be replicated elsewhere.

To learn more about the ABA Rule of Law Initiative’s work in Guinea, contact us at rol@americanbar.com

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