From December 3–5, 2014, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) held a conference in Conakry to mark the launch of a rights abuse documentation tool developed by partner organization Centre Femmes, Citoyenneté et Paix (or FECPA). The event publicly presented stakeholders with a tool for collecting information on the prevalence of women’s rights violations, especially on the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence. The conference was attended by more than 25 representatives from civil society organizations and the ministries of social welfare, women’s affairs and children.
In her opening remarks, Marie Toure, the national director at the Ministry for the Promotion of Women and Gender, highlighted the importance of the fight against gender-based violence and thanked ABA ROLI and FECPA for their contributions. "The violation of women’s rights is something that concerns all of us at the highest level of government in Guinea," she added. “It is the responsibility of everyone to work together to denounce acts of violence against women and gender-based discrimination.’’
Axel Etoundi, ABA ROLI project director in Guinea, said that the initiative to document women’s rights abuse will complement the community-based paralegals work that ABA ROLI supports. Through that program, ABA ROLI-established human rights clinics and networks of community-based paralegals provide free legal services—including mediation and litigation in gender-based violence cases—to those who can’t otherwise afford them. Etoundi said that the documentation of the abuses that women face will bring national attention to an issue that the paralegals face on a daily basis.
Michèle Sona Koundouno, FECPA’s director, said that ABA ROLI’s work will help to empower women and girls. Speaking to the women and girls in attendance, she said, “Your presence this morning is a strong sign of your determination to promote a real sisterhood in fighting gender-based violence.” Koundouno added that she believes in ABA ROLI’s programs in Guinea, “an initiative which deserves to be supported to ensure that girls and women in our communities are proud to be female, which requires [that society] respects and promotes their rights.’’
Following the public event, ABA ROLI and FECPA worked with select participants to revise the documentation tool. Participants were also trained on documentation methodology. ABA ROLI and FECPA will assess the data collected through these tools and create a list of recommendations for government and civil society stakeholders to consider applying in their fight against these abuses. ABA ROLI’s work in Guinea is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
To learn more about our work in Guinea, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected].