The ABA Rule of Law Initiative supports Guinea’s efforts to harness its vast natural resources as a vehicle for sustainable social and economic development. While efforts have been made to increase transparency and good governance in the country’s extractive industries sector, governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations still need to better address the human rights impacts of poorly managed industrial mining projects on surrounding communities.
With support from U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, we have been providing technical assistance to local civil society organizations and government institutions to help fulfill the President’s pledge for mining sector reforms that increase transparency and ensure that locals benefit. Working in collaboration with our local partner, the Centre du Commerce International pour le Développement (CEDIDE), we are providing technical assistance to Guinean ministries as they draft legislation to protect communities adversely affected by industrial mining. This includes laws that will ensure public participation in environmental impact assessments, help manage local development funds, and adopt standards for compensation to, and resettlement of, local populations. We work closely with impacted communities to ensure that they are afforded the opportunity to voice their views on reform.
With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, ABA ROLI is also working to assist Guineans in addressing human rights violations committed by past regimes. Following the government’s appointment of a provisional reconciliation commission tasked with devising a transitional justice strategy, we have been helping the commission incorporate the views of a broad range of actors. ABA ROLI is working alongside local human rights groups Mêmes Droits pour Tous, to devise a methodology for using participatory research techniques to solicit the views of Guinean communities on justice and reconciliation, and it will publish a manual on community participation in transitional justice to share the approach.
Guinea’s prison system is in urgent need of strengthening: many prisoners are detained illegally and do not have access to necessary legal representation. Prisons are overcrowded and lack proper healthcare or sanitation facilitates. The ABA Rule of Law Initiative, supported by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, aims to increase access to justice for those in wrongful detention. We will do this by supporting a local human rights group, Mêmes Droits pour Tous, in creating a network of community-based paralegals that will provide free legal services to detainees and will play a role in monitoring prison conditions. At the same time, we are working to train prison guards and officials on human rights standards and to educate detainees on their basic rights and duties.