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1. Overview of the human rights and democracy situation: The overall situation did not progress in 2018. Local elections due in 2009 finally took place in February 2018. Unresolved complaints of fraud led to violent opposition protests, disbanded by mixed police-army units with use of firearms (including 15 casualties), until November, when demonstrations were prohibited. One year later, 12 mayors and other locally elected officials have not yet been installed. The dates for legislative elections (due in 2019) and presidential elections (due in 2020) are slipping, among persistent rumours that Alpha Condé intends to run for a third mandate, not allowed under the current Constitution. The year 2018 was dominated by political and social turmoil: demonstrations by opposition movements, incidents of violence, teachers' strikes, civil society movements, detention of journalists, all in the absence of political dialogue between regime and opposition.
There are still major challenges related to the consolidation of democracy and rule of law. Little progress was achieved in the justice sector (access to justice, fight against impunity - a date is still pending for the trial for the massacre on 28 September 2009; the civil code is stuck in the National Assembly); in the Security Sector; and gender equality (Guinea remains a patriarchal society, women are underrepresented, 97% suffer from female genital mutilation (FGM). Civil society, supported by the IC, was in general able to express their views, which the Government is however reluctant to take up. Some journalists and media were harassed.
The Guinean democratic bases remain fragile. Challenges persist regarding economic, social and cultural rights. The management of resources in mining areas is a potentially destabilising factor. The endemic corruption and the political, economic and social uncertainty risk undermining the business climate in the country and the efforts to curb irregular migration.
2. EU action - key focus areas and bilateral political engagement: EU priorities are focused on promoting access to justice and the fight against impunity; reinforcing democracy and
tackling corruption; assuring material and personal security in accordance with the respect for human rights, through the improvement of the security forces' performance, the reintegration of vulnerable populations and support to victims of human rights violations, and gender equality (emphasis on fighting FGM and violence against women).
In order to monitor the February 2018 local elections, the EU deployed an Electoral Experts Mission (EEM), which highlighted several weaknesses in the electoral system. The EU is still waiting for an opportunity to discuss the EEM's recommendations with the Guinean authorities.
The EU continued to engage in a dialogue on human rights and democracy with Guinea in formal and informal settings, including local human rights for a. The EU raised concerns about human rights issues and encouraged the government to strengthen the protection of human rights through statements, speeches and workshops. Activities included support to the civil society organisations (CSOs), seminars and field visits to human rights-related cooperation projects. The EU encouraged the incorporation of the human rights approach within Guinea's National Economic and Social Plan (PNDES) and maintained regular dialogue with CSOs active in human rights issues, through frequent meetings including with human rights defenders (HRDs).
3. EU financial engagement: In 2018, the EU continued to provide financial support to projects funded through the European Development Fund (EDF), the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP). Several projects (PARSS 3-RSS, PARJU, PASOC, PEID, EIDHR, CSO-LA) focused on supporting the justice and security reforms, the electoral process, civil society, and on preventing and promoting the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
The Justice Reform Support Programmme (PARJU) contributes to strengthening the capacity of the administration of justice, to improving access to justice, to the reform of the prison system and to tackling impunity also supporting human rights organisations. PARJU and EIDHR support FIDH in its assistance to the victims of the 28.9.09 massacre (legal clinics, medical assistance, free legal access in 859 most vulnerable cases, etc.) and in engaging the authorities and other actors to fight impunity and promote national reconciliation. Through PARJU, the NGO Terre des hommes financed the rehabilitation of 9 prisons in Guinea. There has been a slight drop in the number of prisoners, thanks in particular to the efforts of the EU (PARJU) and UNDP supporting quicker investigations. The EU support under the PARJU programme for training and costs of the judicial system (EUR 20 million) ends in 2020.
The IcSP Programme supports the prevention of violent extremism, fight against impunity, including the organisation of the trial following the 28.9.09 events; and logistical support to the Etats Généraux des Droits de l'Homme, held in 2018. It contributes to national security and to the prevention of terrorist risk.
EU substantial support to Security Sector Reform (SSR) continues with PARSS3, the 3rd SSR programme funded by the 11th EDF, launched in 2018. It focuses on the establishment of community police, training in ethics/deontology, improving trust between police forces and population, by underlining crime prevention. PARSS3 and a project on community police financed by FPI contributed to improving HR awareness by security forces. The community police project funded by IcSP included human rights-linked activities such as workshops on crowd control law and regulations; equipment and training for the so-called "police of the police"; training of more than 1200 police agents in Conakry, including in victim support and customer service; improved investigations and evidence gathering by the judiciary police; development of effective dialogue structures between police and communities.
The EUTF (EUR 5.4 million), supports the IOM project on Migration Governance and Support to the Reintegration of Migrants in Guinea, which has allowed, since April 2017, for more than 10,000 Guineans to be returned from Africa and Europe, and receive reintegration assistance. This project also builds migration management capacity for government institutions and CSOs, and carries out national awareness-raising campaign on the dangers of irregular migration and the alternatives that exist. A second initiative funded by EUTF, INTEGRA (EUR 65 million) was launched in November 2018, aimed at creating jobs and providing training opportunities to anchor youth in Guinea, raise awareness of the risks of irregular migration and facilitate the reintegration of returnees.
4. Multilateral context: Guinea is party to a number of international human rights conventions, but has not still signed some, notably the International Convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearance, the International Convention on protection of the rights of migrant workers and their families, the 2nd optional Protocol to ICCPR on the abolition of the death penalty, and the two optional protocols to the Convention on the rights of the Child. Guinea is scheduled to undergo its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in early 2020. In its previous review of January 2015, it accepted 180 recommendations out of 194. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, UN special representative and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWAS) visited Guinea in 2018 to discuss i.a. the consolidation of democracy, governance and human rights.