Obiang Statement Encourages Human Rights Violations

Obiang Statement Encourages Human Rights Violations

EG Justice December 7, 2015
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President Obiang's remarks at home suggesting that criminals should have their tendons severed are clear indication of his disregard for human rights, and tells a different story than that given to international bodies.

EG Justice deplores comments made by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo during the 3rd extraordinary congress of the ruling Partido Democrático de Guinea Ecuatorial (PDGE, Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea), held from 8 to 12 November 2015. 
In his televised opening remarks President Obiang said that he would not outlaw the death penalty, despite international pressure and contracted commitments.  After several rhetorical comments about why someone who took another’s life did not deserve to live, he noted that he would order his government to submit the issue to national referendum. Later in the speech, President Obiang called for criminals (thieves) to be punished harshly. He noted that, “they should have their tendons severed so that when people see them limping in the streets, they will be recognizable as thieves.” (video)

“Such abhorrent comments from a Head of State shows total disregard for human rights. Particularly, in Equatorial Guinea, these statements are tantamount to express orders from the president to the security forces to take the law into their hands and violate human rights. The President is inciting to violence, condoning human rights violations, and encouraging disrespect for the rule of law”, said Tutu Alicante, EG Justice’s Executive Director.
President Obiang’s remarks—which have since been repeated by other high level government officials—are an affront to Equatoguineans as well as the international community. They fly in the face of binding commitments undertaken in regional and international bodies, including those made to the Comunidade de Países de Língua Oficial Portuguesa (CPLP, Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries), which in June 2014 admitted Equatorial Guinea as a full member of the organization, despite its dismal human rights record.
In the coming months, President Obiang’s comments will inevitably aggravate the already precarious human rights situation in the country. Incidents of arbitrary arrest, detention without charge, and physical abuse have already been on the rise and will continue to escalate. 
On October 23, the Governor of the Litoral Province, Mr. Amado Nguema Owono , ordered the unlawful incarceration of Mr. Norberto Esono Ntutumu, a member of the political party Convergencia para la Democracia Social- CPDS (Convergence for Social Democracy), following a marital dispute between Mr. Esono and his spouse. Mr. Esono was in detention without charge for 6 weeks in the Ncoantoma Gendarmes’ station, in Bata.
Another CPDS member, Mr. Pelayo Mitogo Ebona, was arrested, handcuffed, and beaten by police officers in the city of Niefang on November 20, reportedly on the orders of the local military commander, Reginaldo Edjang Nkisogo, who earlier that day had threatened to arrest him, apparently in connexion with a football match refereed by Mr. Mitogo a year earlier.
Then, on November 21, sisters Urí and Alisol Buiyaban, 16 and 19 years of age respectively, were arrested and severely beaten by soldiers in the Rebola military barracks. They had failed to stop when the national flag was being raised, an act that the soldiers deemed merited the beating that resulted in lesions to the girls buttocks. 
“These incidents do not augur well for the future of human rights in Equatorial Guinea, especially in the run-up to presidential elections in 2016. They reflect the prevailing disregard for the rule of law, and the level of impunity for the systematic human rights abuses that characterizes the Obiang regime,”, said Tutu Alicante.
EG Justice calls on the international community—especially the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights—to urge the Equatoguinean government to respect the human rights of its citizens and to take concrete steps to protect the rule of law.  Similarly, EG Justice calls on the CPLP to ensure that the government of Equatorial Guinea fully complies with the human rights principles enshrined in the CPLP statutes and abolishes the death penalty.
For more information, please contact:
In Tampa, for EG Justice, Tutu Alicante, (English, Spanish): +1-615-479-0207 (cell);; Twitter @TutuAlicante @EGJustice

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