Equatorial Guinea, the country with the world's most longest-serving president, is up for a peer review by the UN Human Rights Council on May 13. The country has been accused of numerous human rights violations under President Teodoro Obiang.
What is a UN peer review?
Also known as a Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the UN peer review is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council that periodically examines the human rights performance of all 193 member states. UN member states have been called upon to express serious concern about Equatorial Guinea's government's responsibility to respect and protect its citizens civil and political freedoms. As the clock ticks, what instances put Equatorial Guinea in jeopardy during the peer review?
1. Father-Son Succession
In 2016, President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo appointed his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, to be vice president, effectively putting him next in line for the presidency should the 80-year old president resign, be incapacitated, or die.
2. Theft and money laundering
In 2017 October, a French court convicted Nguema Obiang in absentia of stealing more than $120 million from the public treasury to finance a lavish lifestyle in Paris. Swiss prosecutors arrived at a deal with Equatorial Guinea to close a money-laundering investigation into Nguema Obiang in 2019 February (the US DoJ settled a similar case in 2014).
3. Human rights abuses
Several cases of human rights abuses have been carefully documented by Human Rights Watch, including the arbitrary detention and torture of political opponent Joaquin Elo Ayeto in February 2019 (Elo had been previously been detained twice before that incident), the retaliation and attacks against human rights defender Alfredo Okenve in March 2019, the arbitrary detention of artist Ramón Esono Ebalé on September 2017, the arbitrary detention of teachers in December 2017, and the arrest and torture of 147 opposition members in December 2017.
Will the peer review be fruitful? Will Equatorial Guinea be held to account? Will this be the beginning of the end for Teodoro Obiang's 40-year reign?
Header Image Credit: Eagle Online