Guinea | Freedom House

Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World 2017



Freedom Status: 
Partly Free

Freedom in the World Scores

(1=Most Free, 7=Least Free)

Quick Facts

Press Freedom Status: 
Not Free

Since Guinea returned to civilian rule in 2010 following a 2008 military coup and decades of authoritarian governance, elections have been plagued by violence, delays, and other flaws. The government uses restrictive criminal laws to discourage dissent, and political disputes are often exacerbated by ethnic divisions and pervasive corruption. Regular abuse of civilians by military and police forces reflects a deep-seated culture of impunity.

Key Developments: 
  • A new criminal code adopted in July outlawed torture but appeared to exclude a range of abusive practices from the definition. It also retained criminal penalties for defamation, among other problematic provisions.
  • In August, a senior member of the political opposition, Ousmane Gaoual Diallo, received a suspended two-year prison sentence for making statements that were deemed offensive to the president.
  • Overdue local elections were tentatively scheduled for early 2017 under a political accord reached in October.
  • A number of journalists were reportedly detained and beaten by security forces, and one was killed, while attempting to cover politically sensitive events during the year.
Executive Summary: 

In June 2016, the World Health Organization declared an end to transmission of the Ebola virus in Guinea, where a deadly regional outbreak had begun in 2013. A similar declaration in late December 2015 had been followed by new cases. The outbreak as a whole killed over 2,500 people in Guinea, devastated the fragile economy, and increased mistrust of the government.

Disputes over long-delayed local elections continued to fuel tensions between the governing and opposition parties in 2016. Local balloting originally due in 2010 had been repeatedly postponed, and the country had not held such elections since 2005. In October, the opposition announced a political agreement to schedule the vote for February 2017, but it remained unclear at year’s end whether the plan would proceed. Contributing to the tensions, the government repeatedly failed to respect the freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression during the year. Journalists and opposition protesters faced violence and harassment from security forces, as well as prosecution for offenses such as insulting the president.

Corruption remained pervasive, and the courts suffered from a long-standing lack of resources and capacity. Impunity for Guinea’s security forces also persisted, with little accountability for the hundreds of deaths and injuries they had inflicted on protesters and other civilians over the past decade. 

Aggregate Score: 
Freedom Rating: 
Political Rights: 
Civil Liberties: 

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