Benin

Opposition members sentenced to prison; concerns about violations against LGBTQI+ people

In its annual report, issued in December 2021, the National Human Rights Commission noted its concern about "physical and sexual assaults, arbitrary detention, torture and inhuman and degrading treatment observed recently in Benin against Lesbians, Gays, Bi-sexuals, Transgenders, Queers, Intersex and others (LGBTQI+)". Read more  |  Read in French

Opposition members sentenced to prison; concerns about violations against LGBTQI+ people

Protests and violence precede controversial presidential elections without main opposition

On 11th April 2021, close to five million people were called to vote in Benin's presidential elections, a tense and controversial election as electoral reforms introduced in 2019 require candidates for the offices of president and vice-president to be sponsored by at least ten percent of the total members of Parliament and/or mayors (16 representatives). Following the disputed legislative elections in April 2019 – in which opposition parties could not participate due to stringent requirements under the 2018 Electoral Code – and the municipal elections in April 2020, in which only one opposition party gained a majority of councillors in seven municipalities. On 27th November 2020, the African Court on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) rendered a decision calling on authorities in Benin to annul the contentious reforms to the electoral code.
Just days before the poll, protests broke out throughout the country, with some turning violent and other dispersed by excessive force, killing at least two people in Savè. Read more  |  Read in French

Protests and violence precede controversial presidential elections without main opposition

CSO campaign ‘Laissez-moi choisir en 2021’; unauthorised online outlets ordered to cease activities

Ahead of the presidential elections in April 2021, ten civil society organisations launched the campaign Laissez-moi choisir en 2021 (Let me choose in 2021) on 4th September 2020, demanding the withdrawal of certain provisions of the electoral law that were adopted in November 2019. The controversial provision 132 introduces the system of ‘parrainages’, requiring candidates for the offices of president and vice-president to be sponsored by at least 10 percent of the total members of Parliament and/or mayors (16 representatives). Read more

CSO campaign ‘Laissez-moi choisir en 2021’; unauthorised online outlets ordered to cease activities

Benin withdraws from the protocol allowing individuals and CSOs to seize the African Court

On 21st April 2020, Benin announced its withdrawal from the protocol allowing individuals and CSOs to seize the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) after exhaustion of national legal avenues. The Constitutional Court of Benin ruled on 30th April 2020 that the additional protocol of the Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – protocol A/SP.1/01/05 of 19th January 2005 - which allowed individuals and CSOs to appeal directly to the ECOWAS Court of Justice -, is no longer valid, stating that the protocol was never ratified by law. Read more

Benin withdraws from the protocol allowing individuals and CSOs to seize the African Court

Investigative journalist sentenced to 18 months in prison

On 20th December 2019, investigative journalist and editor for the online news outlet Benin Web TV Ignace Sossou was arrested at his home in Cotonou by officers of the Central Office for the Suppression of Cybercrime (ORCR). The journalist was questioned at the ORCR offices about posts he published on Twitter and Facebook quoting the public prosecutor Mario Metonou at a media workshop on 18th December 2019 on the topic of fake news. A few days later, on 24th December 2019, a court in Benin sentenced Sossou to a prison sentence of 18 months and a fine of 200,000 CFA francs (335 USD) for 'harassment by means of electronic communication' under the 2017 Digital Code. Read more  |  Read in French

Investigative journalist sentenced to 18 months in prison

April 2019 legislative elections marred by civic space violations

In the run-up to, during and following the legislative elections several civic space violations took place - including blanket bans on protests, the shutdown of the internet, excessive use of force by security forces, including lethal force, leading to the killing of several people, the shutdown of the internet on election day and arbitrary arrests. Read more

April 2019 legislative elections marred by civic space violations

Media regulator suspends La Nouvelle Tribune newspaper

On 23rd May, national media regulator High Authority for Broadcasting and Communication and Communication (HAAC) suspended, until further notice, the newspaper La Nouvelle Tribune. Read more

Media regulator suspends La Nouvelle Tribune newspaper

Trade unions suspend 4-month strike

As previously reported on the Monitor, Beninese trade unions from various sectors organized a series of strikes in January to denounce a new law inhibiting the right to strike in certain public sectors. Read more

Trade unions suspend 4-month strike

Outcry over jamming and hacking of radio stations and blocking of online news outlet

The online news outlet Les Pharaons was blocked on 12th November 2017, as reported by Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA). According to a statement by the outlet, the management suspects political interference, as there are no reported technical reasons for the blackout. Read more

Outcry over jamming and hacking of radio stations and blocking of online news outlet