Four Equatoguinean civil society leaders gathered in Geneva from May 22 to 28, 2014 on an advocacy mission, ahead of the upcoming nineteenth session of the Universal Periodic Review, when the UN Human Rights Council will review the human rights situation in Equatorial Guinea.
The Equatorial Guinea-based human rights defenders included Alfredo Okenve Ndoho, from the Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones para el Desarrollo; Wenceslao Mansogo Alo, from the Convergenge for Social Democracy Party; Moises Enguru Alene, from The House of the Word Bible Institute; and Tutu Alicante, from EG Justice.
The delegation urged UN diplomats to participate in the upcoming UPR of Equatorial Guinea, raising the fact that the Government of Equatorial Guinea had not done anything about implementing the 86 recommendations it accepted four years ago, at its first UPR. The human rights defenders also insisted on the need for greater and effective monitoring of the human rights situation in the country, including by encouraging visits from UN special Procedures.
They also emphasized the need to closely monitor the situation of human rights defenders, of forced evictions, and of poverty and inequality amidst a massive spending spree in lavish projects. Lastly, they drew attention to the scarcity of political rights and freedoms, particularly as Equatorial Guinea prepares for presidential elections in 2016.
Geneva-based International Human Rights Network, the World Council of Churches,and Geneva-based Professor Cruz-Melchor Eya Nchama, provided invaluable logistical support to the delegation, arranging meetings with members of different Permanent Missions, and representatives from the UN Special Procedures, and from the UN Office of the High Commissioner.
During a side event that took place on March 27, moderated by Christina Papazoglou from the World Council of Churches, a statement by Gustavo Gallon Giraldo, the last UN Special Rapporteur for Equatorial Guinea, was read.
Mr. Gallon’s statement echoed the concerns raised by the Equatoguinean human rights defenders about widespread human rights violations, the ubiquitous poverty and inequality, and the systematic corruption that characterizes the country. Mr. Gallon called on the United Nations to revive the mandate of a country-Rapporteur for Equatorial Guinea.
Equatorial Guinea’s 18-page National report paints a picture of a country that is serious about addressing human rights violations, and has done all it could to protect and promote human rights, rule of law, transparency and engagement of civil society organizations. It is a drastic departure from the reality in the country; and an indication of the Equatoguinean government lack of political will to implement UPR recommendations.
Following the advocacy week in Geneva, the civil society organizations and international partners have sent follow-up letters to UN Member States urging them to participate in Equatorial Guinea’s UPR, and to present strong recommendations.
<<read recommendations sent to UN Member States>>
For further information, please contact Tutu Alicante
In Tampa, FL. + 615 479 0207 (mobile); or firstname.lastname@example.org