Guinea-Bissau Human Rights
Guinea-Bissau's already fragile political environment became more precarious with the death of the President Malam Bacai Sanha. Sanha, who came to power in 2009 after the assassination of Joao Bernardo Vieira, died of natural causes in Paris where he was receiving medical treatment T The President of the National Assembly; Raimundo Pereira is acting interim president. The existing divisions within the military and civilian authorities (already fractious after a military revolt in April of 2011) are now more volatile than ever. The armed forces have been responsible for numerous human rights violations including torture, arbitrary arrest, and prolonged detention). Impunity issues persist with the government failing to bring to justice those responsible for the abuses. Furthermore, the deleterious problem of drug trafficking continues to riddle Guinea Bissau with violence and government corruption associated with the criminal environment it engenders. In February, a former Minister of Fisheries and three ministry officials were charged with embezzlement. The case has yet to be adjudicated. The main rival in the military to the acting interim president is the head of the Navy, Bubo Na Tchuto who was arrested last year after clashes in the capital, Bissau that the government deemed a coup attempt. The potential for greater instability is high.
The circumstances surrounding the assassination of Sanha's predecessor remain unexplained and impunity issues in general loom large in Guinea-Bissau.
The United Nations assessed Guinea-Bissau's human rights record under the Universal Periodic Review process. The United Nations Human Rights Council's final report was adopted in September. The government of then President, Malam Bacai Sanha rejected five recommendations, including those related to impunity of the armed forces for human rights violations. It did, however, support a commitment to the criminalization of female genital mutilation after a promised public education campaign. In November, the government ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Arbitrary arrests and detentions persist. While the six military officers who were arrested in connection with the killing in March 2009 of former Chief of Staff General Tagme na Wale who were held in incommunicado detention without charge for 20 months, have been released, they are not allowed to leave the country. The death of Frenando Tea a few days after his arrest and beating by police officers of the 5th police station in the capital remains uninvestigated and the two police officers involved in the arrest have not been charged or tried.
Other ill-treatment issues persist. In April, a fifteen-year-old girl was beaten to death for refusing to marry a much older man. The case remains uninvestigated and no one has been arrested in association with the death. In the same region, Tombali, villagers beat members of the Evangelical Church for sheltering 20 girls between the ages of 14-16 who had also fled arranged marriages with older men. No police action has been taken.