Les Mêmes Droits Pour Tous (MDT)

(Same Rights for Everyone) Contact: mdtguinee@yahoo.fr

Les Mêmes Droits Pour Tous was formed and began its advocacy work on behalf of Guinea’s prison population during the tumultous recent history of Guinea.

One of its co-founders, Kimberly Osborn-Kim, an intern with the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA) in 2005 visited Maison Centrale prison in Conakry and observed the prisoners’ conditions of severe overcrowding, poor sanitation, and lack of basic medical care. Osborn-Kim made contact with Foromo Frédéric Loua, a Guinean lawyer and together they began to visit the prison on a regular basis to identify cases of illegal detention that might be brought to trial.

MDT was officially registered as a nongovernmental organization with the Guinean government in May 2005. A partnership was initiated with ADRA to establish a prisoner advocacy center at Maison Centrale. MDT’s early work included providing photographs and critical information on conditions inside Guinea’s prisons to Human Rights Watch for its August 2006 report.

ADRA closed its operations in Guinea in September 2006, but through volunteer work of MDT’s staff and the fundraising efforts, MDT was able to reopen the advocacy center and continue its operations. In October 2006, MDT reached a special agreement with the Ministry of Justice granting the organization unrestricted access to all of Guinea’s prisons.

MDT is currently the only organization in Guinea providing free legal aid to adult prisoners. As of January 2009, it had secured the release of more than 400 prisoners who were illegally detained by authorities or were suffering from severe malnutrition and illness. Since 2007, MDT has also assisted victims of human rights abuses normally denied access to legal remedies in Guinea, including victims of torture and gender-based violence.

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