The Global Survivors Fund calls for justice and reparations for survivors of sexual violence committed in the 28 September Stadium in Guinea
Date and time
Geneva, 28 September 2020
“As we are commemorating the tragic events of the 28 September in Guinea, the Global Survivors Fund calls upon the Government of Guinea to live up to its commitment and immediately proceed with the organization of the trial and the establishment of a reparations programme for survivors of sexual violence and other victims of the crimes committed in the 28 September Stadium, more than a decade ago. Justice delayed is justice denied”, stated Dr. Denis Mukwege, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the President of the Board of the Global Survivors Fund. “Survivors of rape and victims of other crimes which took place on 28 September 2009, must not wait any more to receive recognition, satisfactions and reparations”.
Focusing on the plight of the survivors of sexual violence, the acting Executive Secretary of the Global Survivors Fund, Esther Dingemans stated that survivors of sexual violence in Guinea continue to bear trauma and face tremendous obstacles in rehabilitation and reintegration into the society. Around the world, the consequences of sexual violence are devastating. Many survivors lose their jobs, are disregarded by their communities and sometimes their own families. Reparations for the violations they suffered provides survivors with a sense of acknowledgement, satisfaction, and justice.
As survivors in Guinea have been waiting for reparations for more than ten years to no avail, the Global Survivors Fund runs a project together with its national partners, l’Association des Victimes, Parents et Amis du 28 septembre (AVIPA) and the Organisation Guinéenne des Droits de l’Homme et du Citoyen (OGDH). It focuses on providing interim reparative measures to survivors and supporting State efforts to put in place a national reparation policy.
This project is entirely co-created with the survivors themselves. They have welcomed the initiative and lead in the design and implementation of the activities, which include compensation, livelihoods training, medical and psychological support. For more information about the survivors’ views and the scope and the impact of the project please watch this video.
“We hope that this project supported by the Global Survivors Fund will also have a catalyst effect and prompt the Government of Guinea to proceed with the organization, without further delay, of the trial and with the establishment of a comprehensive reparation mechanisms in accordance with the survivors needs and expectations”, said Karine Bonneau, Senior Programme Manager for the Fund.
On 28 September 2009 approximately 50,000 people gathered at the 28 September Stadium and its surroundings in the capital Conakry to protest the looming extension of the military junta rule. The leader of the junta, Moussa Dadis Camara, responded by sending members of the elite Presidential Guard and other security forces with the intent to violently disperse the protests and suppress further dissent.
Upon entering the stadium, the armed forces opened indiscriminate fire against unarmed civilians which, according to the subsequent international commission of inquiry, resulted in the murder of 157 people. Simultaneously, the forces engaged in massive and cruel violence against the protesters which included beatings, torture, enforced disappearances and sexual violence. In the report of the Commission of Inquiry, at least 109 women were violently raped and suffered other sexual violence such as sexual slavery.
A national criminal investigation was opened in 2010 and ended in 2017. 13 people have been prosecuted but only 11 sent before the criminal court, which include past and present high-ranking officials such as the former chief of the military junta. No trial has yet been organized.
Pursuant to the Joint Communiqué between the United Nations and Guinea in 2011, Guinea has committed to organize the trial on 28 September and consequently the UN Expert Team on the Rule of Law / Sexual Violence in Conflict has sent a representative to support the investigation phase. A multi stakeholder steering committee was established to organize the trial and create a compensation fund for victims, but it has not been convened for the last several months.
The Global Survivors Fund was established in October 2019 at the initiative of Dr. Denis Mukwege, Ms. Nadia Murad and survivors from all around the world. Its purpose is to enhance access to reparations and other forms of redress for survivors of conflict-related sexual violence around the globe. This is done by providing interim reparative measures to survivors in countries where the state is unwilling or unable to discharge its duties, advice and technical assistance to government which are genuinely committed to establishing reparations programs and advocacy at national and international level. A survivors-centric approach is the corner stone of the Fund’s work.