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Guinea-Bissau / Spain: Further information on: fear of refoulement / ill-treatment / fear for safety and new concern: health concern

, N° d'index: AFR 30/004/1996

Albert Mukesha Batwaro, Rwandese, Souleymane Diallo, Sulaymane Soure, Alpha Mamadou Barry and Abubacar Sall, all from Guinea-Conakry, and other African nationals: On 12 August 1996, Albert Mukesha Batwaro and 44 other men of various African nationalities held in in the Second Squadron prison in Bissau, went on hunger-strike in protest at the way they have been treated by the Spanish and Guinea-Bissau authorities. Many of the detainees were already weak and some of them fell ill and had to be taken to hospital. Amnesty International is calling on all relevant authorities to address their legitimate grievances as they did not have adequate opportunity to present their claims for asylum in Spain before being forcibly removed to Guinea-Bissau.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AFR 30/04/96
15 August 1996
Further information on UA 192/96 (AFR 30/03/96, 1 August 1996) - Fear of
refoulement / Ill-treatment / Fear for safety and new Health concern
GUINEA-BISSAU / SPAINAlbert Mukesha Batwaro, Rwandese, Souleymane Diallo,
Sulaymane Souare, Alpha Mamadou Barry and Abubacar
Sall, all from Guinea-Conakry, and other African
nationals
On 12 August 1996, Albert Mukesha Batwaro and 44 other men of various African
nationalities held in the Segunda Esquadra (Second Squadron) prison in the
capital, Bissau, went on hunger-strike in protest at the way they have been
treated by the Spanish and Guinea-Bissau authorities. On 14 August, five fell
ill and were taken to hospital. Many of the detainees were already weak and
some were suffering from malaria for which the only treatment available was
aspirin. Two were sent back to prison after treatment but the others remain
in hospital. Up to 12 August there were reports that some of the detainees
had been subjected to beatings.
Earlier, on 9 August, police reportedly summoned the six Guinea-Conakry
nationals, offered them US$200 each and told them to use the money to make
their way back to Guinea-Conakry. Four, Souleymane Diallo, Sulaymane Souare,
Alpha Mamadou Barry and Abubacar Sall, took the money and agreed to leave:
the other two refused, one of whom is reported to have left the prison and
to have gone into hiding. According to their companions those who agreed to
leave were in tears and had complained that police had threatened them. One
is reported to have said that he was afraid to return to his country. Although
the four were not returned to Guinea-Conakry under physical constraint, they
have not been offered any alternative. They were apparently expected to go
by "candonga", a sort of taxi service.
Amnesty International is concerned about the health of the hunger-strikers
and is calling on all relevant authorities to address their legitimate
grievances. They did not have adequate opportunity to present their claims
for asylum in Spain before being forcibly removed to Guinea-Bissau. Neither
the four who were effectively forced to return to Guinea-Conakry nor any of
the other 46 were given the opportunity to claim asylum in Guinea-Bissau.
Amnesty International fears that some of these people may be at risk of serious
human rights violations if they are returned to their own countries.
Guinea-Bissau is bound by international treaties to ensure that they are not
repatriated either directly or indirectly to their own countries, without any
opportunity to seek asylum and to have these claims fairly reviewed.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Portuguese or your own language:
- expressing concern for the health and well-being of the detainees on
hunger-strike in protest at their treatment in Spain and Guinea-Bissau;
- expressing deep concern that the 50 who were sent to Guinea-Bissau have not
been given any opportunity to present their claims to asylum there and that
despite this four Guinea-Conakry nationals have been ordered to return to their
country;
- reminding the authorities of their treaty obligation to abide by the
internationally recognized principle of non-refoulement, which states that
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no country should forcibly expel individuals, directly or indirectly, to a
country where they might be subjected to serious human rights violations;
- urging the authorities to ensure that all members of the group who express
a fear of returning to their country are given access to a full and fair asylum
procedure;
- expressing concern at reports that up to 12 August detainees were subjected
to beatings in the Segunda Esquadra in Bissau and urging the authorities to
take immediate action to ensure that the detainees are well treated and not
subject to further beatings;
- urging that those who need it be given adequate medical treatment.
APPEALS TO:
President of the Republic
Sua Excelência João Bernardo Vieira
Presidente da República
Palácio da República
Praça dos Herois Nacionais
Bissau, República da Guiné-Bissau
Faxes: + 245 20 20 07
Telexes: 251 pcr bi
Telegrams: Presidente Vieira, Bissau, Guiné-Bissau
Salutation: Excelência
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Sua Excelência Fernando Delfim da Silva
Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros
Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros
Avenida Domingos Ramos
Bissau, República da Guiné-Bissau
Faxes: + 245 20 15 42
Telegrams: Ministro Fernando Delfim da Silva, Bissau, Guiné-Bissau
Salutation: Excelência
Please also send appeals to the Spanish Minister of the Interior, preferably
in Spanish or in your own language, using as much of the following as possible:
- expressing concern about the detainees on hunger-strike in protest at their
treatment in Spain and Guinea-Bissau;
- expressing concern that the 50 who were sent to Guinea-Bissau have not been
given any opportunity to present their claims to asylum there and that despite
this four Guinea-Conakry nationals have been ordered to return to their country;
- expressing concern at reports that persons expelled by the Spanish Government
were subjected to beatings in the Segunda Esquadra in Bissau (Guinea-Bissau)
and asking that an immediate request be made to the Guinea-Bissau authorities
to investigate these reports;
- asking what assurances were sought from the Guinea-Bissau authorities that
the 50 men would have access to a full and fair asylum procedure before the
decision was taken to deport them from Spain;
- expressing concern that some of the men had initiated asylum claims but were
nevertheless expelled and that at least one, who had been denied asylum, was
expelled without being given an opportunity to appeal against this decision;
- reminding the authorities of their treaty obligation to abide by the
internationally recognized principle of non-refoulement which states that no
country should forcibly expel individuals directly or indirectly to a country
where they might be subjected to serious human rights violations.
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Minister of the Interior
Excmo Sr D Jaime Mayor Oreja
Ministro del Interior
Ministerio del Interior
Castellana 5, Madrid, Spain
Faxes: +34 1 537 1003
Telegrams: Ministro del Interior, Madrid, Spain
Salutation: Sr Ministro / Dear Minister
COPIES TO: diplomatic representatives of Guinea-Bissau and Spain accredited
to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 25 September 1996.

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