General information on Guinea-Bissau

Although Guinea-Bissau has seen progress over recent years, thousands of children still face a life in crippling poverty. Child trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of minors still affect the lives of many. SOS Children's Villages and local authorities closely cooperate in order to support and protect the country's most vulnerable segment of population.

Family-strengthening programme Canchungo - photo: C. Ladavicius
Family-strengthening programme Canchungo - photo: C. Ladavicius
Guinea-Bissau won independence from Portugal in 1974 after a long and intense struggle. A military coup in 1980 brought army chief Joao Bernardo Vieira to power. His government was accused of serious human rights violations.

In 1998, an attempted coup d'état against his government led to the Guinea-Bissau civil war. Vieira was finally ousted in 1999 as a result of military mutiny. However, he managed to be re-elected in 2005, promising substantial national reconciliation, economic development and political stability. In 2009 he was assassinated by renegade soldiers. The Guinea-Bissau armed forces were responsible for human rights violations that included arbitrary detention, arrest and even torture and murder during the country's civil war.

Legislative and presidential elections have generally been declared free and relatively fair by international observers. However, military intervention and the drug trade have substantially undermined the authority of elected officials and corruption is widespread.

Doing the laundry together - photo: J. Lugtigheid
Doing the laundry together - photo: J. Lugtigheid

 

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