Burkina Faso Lawyers Strike Against Arbitrary Arrest of Colleague Guy-Hervé Kam

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
3 Min Read

Lawyers in Burkina Faso are on strike to protest the arrest of their colleague, Guy-Hervé Kam. This prominent figure within the Burkinabe legal community has been abducted and held in secret since January 24th, without any apparent reason. His arbitrary arrest adds to a series of similar incidents in the country.

Despite efforts by Maître Kam’s colleagues to seek explanations from the Attorney General, they have been met with claims of ignorance regarding both his whereabouts and the rationale behind his arrest.

As Guy-Hervé Kam remains deprived of his liberty, his fellow lawyers abstain from court proceedings this Thursday. Under the directive of the Bar Association’s President, Siaka Niamba, lawyers across the nation are called to strike. This decision was reached during an extraordinary general assembly of the Bar Association on February 7th in Ouagadougou.

This protest has garnered international attention, with the Conference of Bars within the UEMOA (West African Economic and Monetary Union) space in Dakar, Abidjan, Lomé, and Cotonou also condemning the arrest. “For over fifteen days, a lawyer, and a human rights activist, has been detained under completely unacceptable conditions. For anyone familiar with the situation of lawyers within the UEMOA space, this manner of proceedings is utterly incomprehensible and a flagrant violation of his rights,” expressed Maître Mamadou Ismaila Konate, a Malian lawyer and former Minister of Justice.

Highlighting a trend of rights violations across various transitional regimes in the region, Konate lamented, “It’s becoming like an inherent trait. This is what we are faced with in the system of democracy: ‘democracies were biased in the past because elections were rigged.’ That’s true. But the substitute for democracy is military transitional regimes where people seize power under the guise of patriotism, in the name of the state, and decide to do whatever they please, claiming it’s for the country’s sake.”

While Guy-Hervé Kam remains incommunicado, he is not alone. For weeks, there has been no news regarding the whereabouts of politician Albasse Ouedraogo, human rights defender Daouda Diallo, or military personnel Evrard Somda.

This situation underscores a troubling pattern of human rights violations in Burkina Faso and neighboring countries, prompting urgent calls for accountability and respect for the rule of law.

Soukaina Sghir

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