Serious human rights violations and denial of fundamental freedoms in Equatorial Guinea are casting a shadow over campaigning ahead of the May 26, 2013 legislative elections, Amnesty International, EG Justice, and Human Rights Watch said in a statement released today. The organizations expressed concern over several incidents of politically motivated arrests in recent months. They also cited ongoing harassment of the country’s political opposition, reports of voter intimidation, and the denial of free speech and other rights in the lead-up to the election. Human Rights Watch and EG Justice also expressed concern about biased electoral processes and restrictive conditions for international observers.
“President Obiang often says that Africans should demand a voice in global affairs, but he denies one to the people of Equatorial Guinea,” said Tutu Alicante, executive director at EG Justice, which presses for human rights and the rule of law in Equatorial Guinea. “The sad truth is that Equatoguineans have never experienced a free and fair election.”
The three human rights organizations have routinely recorded human rights violations, including around elections, for which there has been no accountability. In the run-up to the May 26 elections, there are substantial human rights concerns. The Equatorial Guinea authorities must ensure the right of the country’s citizens to freely express their views and choices at the polls, the groups said.
Equatorial Guineans will go to the polls on May 26 to elect members of a new parliament as well as local council members across the country. Voters will also elect, for the first time, 55members of a new Senate established in accordance with the revised constitution promulgated in February 2012. The remaining 15 senators will be directly appointed by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been in power since 1979.