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Survivors creating a space of their own

Project Update / Guinea 29 September 2023

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Yesterday, a centre made for and by survivors of sexual violence committed during the 28 September stadium massacre opened its doors in Maferinyah. The inauguration of the centre, hosted by L’Association des Victimes, Parents et Amis du 28 Septembre 2009 (AVIPA), L’Organisation Guinéenne de Défense des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen (OGDH), and Global Survivors Fund (GSF), saw survivors come together and celebrate a space they created for themselves. 

Holding the inauguration on the 14th anniversary of the massacre provided a crucial moment for survivors to reiterate their demands for reparation

“This centre is the embodiment of the work of survivors,” says Asmaou Diallo, President of AVIPA. “It is an indelible mark that we leave in Guinea, a symbol of the constant heroism of survivors."

"The process to identify the survivors who took part in the project had in itself a reparative value," said Asmaou Diallo during her inauguration speech. "This project has already contributed to show survivors that they are seen. Reparation also means recognising the suffering."

Asmaou Diallo, President of AVIPA, gives a speech at the survivor centre inauguration.

The process to identify the survivors who took part in the project had in itself a reparative value. This project has already contributed to show survivors that they are seen. Reparation also means recognising the suffering.

— Asmaou Diallo, President of AVIPA

The survivors’ centre was created out of our interim reparative measures project in Guinea, which we implemented with AVIPA and OGDH. The centre will be managed by survivors as a space where every person who has experienced sexual violence in Guinea is welcome. 

One hundred and fifty-eight survivors worked with us during this project. In addition to the creation of the centre, survivors decided further collective measures and their own individual reparative measures they received. This support included medical and psychological care, education for themselves or their children, and financial support. 

Survivors have shared their testimonies about the transformative impact these measures have had on their lives. Beyond proving that it is possible to provide reparations that are co-created with survivors, the project also demonstrated that reparations are affordable. 

“The survivors put the whole project in place,” explains Karine Bonneau, head of interim reparative measures projects at GSF. “Many of them were stigmatised, rejected and held responsible for their experiences. Seeing this centre rise is a testimony to their strength. This place also highlights the importance for survivors to ‘create together’ and to build a unique place to meet with each other and welcome other survivors.”

Survivors and GSF staff members gather together at the inauguration of the survivor centre

The survivors put the whole project in place. Many of them were stigmatised, rejected and held responsible for their experiences. Seeing this centre rise is a testimony to their strength.

— Karine Bonneau, right photo, GSF head of projects for interim reparative measures

“This centre makes you want to continue the fight against all forms of violence and provide care for all victims of sexual violence,” says Saran Cissé, a survivor and member of the project steering committee. “My dream is to see this centre become a model for all survivors in Africa!" 

With the trial of the 28 September massacre resuming shortly, survivors are calling on the authorities to ensure it runs smoothly. They hope that the judgment handed down will encourage the establishment of a national domestic reparations programme.

GSF, and our partners, are invested in the dialogue initiated with the authorities in Guinea to support the creation of such a programme. We will continue to provide our technical support to the process. It will be essential that any national programme is co-created with survivors. To truly repair, the specific needs and recommendations of survivors must be central to the programme. 

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