CIVICUS

MonitorbetaTracking civic space

Comoros

Live rating: Narrowed

Last updated on 01.06.2016 at 17:11

Comoros Overview

People in Comoros are constitutionally protected in the enjoyment of their fundamental freedoms, which are also safeguarded in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Comoros is a state party.

read more

Latest Civicus alert

See all CIVICUS Alerts

from the news feed

view the news feed

Association in Comoros

For many years, civil society has played an important service delivery role in the Comoros in areas such as health care and environmental protection.

For many years, civil society has played an important service delivery role in the Comoros in areas such as health care and environmental protection. A number of human rights organisations also operate and new social movements and coalitions have emerged in response to sub-par state service delivery in recent years. Although these organisations and movements benefit from clear constitutional protections for the right to associate, those provisions are not always respected by the authorities. In 2015, in response to countrywide electricity and water shortages, a coalition of civil society formed a new movement ‘Madji Na Mwendje’ aimed at pressuring the government into addressing the crisis. Having made critical remarks in the media, one of the movement’s main leaders was arrested and detained by the authorities. Other organisations, including the youth organisation Ngo’Shawo, are finding new means, including social media, to mobilise, campaign and communicate.

Peaceful Assembly in Comoros

People in Comoros have the constitutional right to gather peacefully in public. This right is exercised frequently, but sometimes leads to clashes with police.

People in Comoros have the constitutional right to gather peacefully in public. This right is exercised frequently, but sometimes leads to clashes with police. A ‘dead island’ protest against power cuts and water shortages in February 2015 descended into violence, and seven were injured during clashes between security forces and demonstrators at Mitsoudjé, near the Capital Moroni. Police arrested the leader of the protest, Said Mohamed Mchangama, for inciting hatred but he was later released without charge. Demonstrators again took to the streets in March 2016 in opposition to rumours of attempted mercenary interference in the affairs of the state. This protest was also dispersed by the security forces.

Expression in Comoros

Comorians right to freely express their ideas and opinions is protected in the preamble to the constitution. In practice, a wide range of views are expressed without incident.

Comorians right to freely express their ideas and opinions is protected in the preamble to the constitution. In practice, a wide range of views are expressed without incident. Reporting on certain issues, including corruption and the affairs of the government, can however result in this right being curtailed. In 2013 for instance, a government minister seized all copies of a national newspaper supplement discussing public sector corruption and suspended the newspaper’s editor. The threat of criminal defamation charges is also a problem for journalists in Comoros, who frequently self-censor as a result. With just 7% of people online in 2014, the Internet and social media are still developing media in Comoros, although access is unrestricted and content uncensored. Public canvassing for religions other than Islam is not permitted and foreigners who do so face deportation.