Equatorial Guinea: Political Reform without Human Rights

Equatorial Guinea: Political Reform without Human Rights

Amnesty International | December 31, 1992
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This report describes human rights violations and related developments in Equatorial Guinea during 1992. January 1992 marked what was expected to be the beginning of a new era in Equatorial Guinea. An amended constitution which had been approved in November 1991 to allow the introduction of a multi-party political system was complemented in January by several laws governing the exercise of basic freedoms. However, the new laws were hedged with restrictions which revealed the government's reluctance to install a democratic political system or to improve its poor human rights record. The report analyzes the new constitution and laws and analyzes numerous cases of human rights abuse that highlights the continued abuse of human rights by the government despite the new legal framework.

""What do human rights have to do with democracy?" Santiago Eneme, Equatorial Guinean Foreign Minister at the time, asked this question of United Nations (UN) expert Professor Volio Jiménez during his visit to Equatorial Guinea in late 1991. For over 10 years, Professor Volio Jiménez, the expert who was appointed in 1980 to assist Equatorial Guinea's government in restoring fundamental human rights, has consistently urged the introduction of democratic reforms and respect for human rights in Equatorial Guinea. Santiago Eneme's question is an indication of the government's profound indifference towards human rights.

This report describes human rights violations and related developments in Equatorial Guinea during 1992. January 1992 marked what was expected to be the beginning of a new era in Equatorial Guinea. An amended constitution which had been approved in November 1991 to allow the introduction of a multi-party political system was complemented in January by several laws governing the exercise of basic freedoms. However, the new laws were hedged with restrictions which revealed the government's reluctance to install a democratic political system or to improve its poor human rights record. No effort has been made to bring the security apparatus within the confines of any law. Security officials continue to perceive themselves as above the law..."

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