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Guinea vote must be 'transparent': UN rights chief


AFP Geneva
The UN rights chief called Thursday on the authorities in Guinea to ensure this weekend's votes are transparent and inclusive, warning that any escalation in the country's crisis would be "profoundly harmful".
Guinea, a country with a long tradition of political turmoil, is to vote on Sunday in a referendum and in a legislative election.
The referendum on constitutional changes is seen by critics as a ploy by President Alpha Conde, 81, to stay in power for a third term, after a decade in power.
Months of protests against the referendum have resulted in "dozens of deaths," Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday.
"Reports also indicate that ethnic divisions are deepening, with increasing incitement to hatred and violence on social media and at political rallies," she said.
"Any further escalation of this crisis could be profoundly harmful."

Bachelet highlighted a warning about "serious irregularities in the voters' register" from the international association of French-speaking countries, OIF, earlier this week.
"I urge the authorities to avert greater turmoil and ensure that the electoral process is transparent and inclusive," she said.
Guinea has suffered serious unrest over the plans for constitutional reform. At least 30 people and a gendarme, have lost their lives, according to an AFP tally.
Jailed under previous hardline regimes, Conde became Guinea's first democratically elected president in 2010.
He was returned to office by voters in 2015 for his second and final five-year term under the current constitution, but critics say he has become authoritarian.
Earlier this month he left the door open to running for a third term, saying there was "nothing more democratic" than the referendum on constitutional change.
The National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) has called for a boycott of the vote.

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First Published: Feb 27 2020 | 4:46 PM IST

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