Tuesday 1.10.2019 in Overview in Madagascar Country Page
Civil society organisations working on environmental issues continue to be subject to harassment and intimidation. Several cases of detention of human rights defenders for raising awareness on environmental issues have been documented. For example, in May 2018 human rights defender Christopher Manenjika, working with the organisation Maroantsetra Lampogno Coalition, a movement that advocates against the illegal exploitation of natural resources in Madagascar, was detained for raising concerns over the involvement of Chinese mining companies in Maroantsetra. He was found guilty of rebellion and insult to public agents and handed a fine of 8 dollars. In addition, in August 2019, human rights defender Mbolatiana Raveloarimsa was the target of threats after she published an article in the newspaper L’Express de Madagascar about the extreme poverty in the country and the lack of good governance.
The right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the Constitution of Madagascar. However, in practice the authorities use excessive force to disperse peaceful protests organised by members of the political opposition and civil society organisations. In addition, the authorities impose restrictions such as banning all forms of protest and public gatherings for certain periods of time, particularly during elections. In January 2019, supporters of opposition candidate Marc Ravalomanana - who claimed the election results were fraudulent - took to the streets and were dispersed by security forces using tear gas.
Multiple challenges to free expression remain, including a restrictive cybercrime law that according to reports has been used against social media users.
Presidential elections were held in December 2018 and Andry Rajoelina was declared President and later confirmed by a Constitutional Court decision after the opposition candidate lodged a complaint alleging that the result was riddled with fraud.