Head of state: Andry Nirina Rajoelina
Head of government: Camille Albert Vital
Death penalty: abolitionist in practice
Population: 20.1 million
Life expectancy: 61.2 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 105/95 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 70.7 per cent
Human rights violations were committed with almost total impunity by the security forces, including unlawful arrests and detentions, excessive use of force against demonstrators and attacks on journalists and opposition leaders. Political opponents of the government were denied fair trials.
The political situation remained unstable and the international community was unable to resolve the political crisis that began in December 2008. Negotiations in Pretoria failed in May. Madagascar continued to be suspended from regional and international organizations.
Several ministers were dismissed by Andry Nirina Rajoelina, head of state and of the High Transitional Authority (HAT). Tensions remained high within the army. In May, at least four security personnel were shot dead in clashes in the Fort Duchesne military camp. Some senior officers and at least 22 gendarmes were detained following this incident. On 17 November, a mutiny erupted on the day of a national referendum and some military officers announced the creation of a “military council for the welfare of people”. They later surrendered to the HAT authorities.
Explosions occurred in various places including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October.
A National Electoral Commission was installed in March and a national referendum and local elections took place in November and December; presidential elections were planned for 2011. The authorities banned any public demonstration during electoral periods.
Excessive use of force and unlawful killings
Regular public demonstrations organized by the opposition were violently dispersed by the security forces, resulting in deaths and injuries. Those responsible enjoyed impunity.
- At least one student protestor at Antananarivo University in Antsiranana was shot dead by a member of the security forces in April. No independent investigation was conducted.
Arbitrary arrests and detentions
Political opponents of the HAT and supporters of former President Marc Ravalomanana were arbitrarily arrested and detained by the security forces. Some people arrested in 2009 were still detained. At least 18 detainees went on hunger strike.
- Ralitera Andriamalala Andrianandraina, former Director of Security at the High Constitutional Court of Madagascar who was arrested in April 2009, remained in custody in Antanimora prison. In August, he was sentenced by an Antananarivo criminal court to a suspended two-year prison term on charges including endangering state security. He was not released because he was accused by the authorities of involvement in the killing of a bookshop employee at Ambohijavoto in April 2009. His new trial had not been scheduled by the end of the year. His health deteriorated in prison and he was admitted to hospital in mid-January 2010.
- In May, a group of HAT officers arrested and beat Ambroise Ravonison and Harison Razafindrakoto, two members of the opposition who were participating in a radio broadcast in Antananarivo. Ambroise Ravonison was accused of insulting the president of the HAT. He was detained at Antanimora prison for two weeks and then sentenced to eight months' suspended imprisonment. Harison Razafindrakoto was released.
- On 8 October, Jaky Ernest Rabehaja, one of the leaders of a strike by magistrates in October, was arrested and forced to board a security force vehicle. He was later released on the outskirts of Antananarivo.
Freedom of expression - journalists
Journalists continued to be victims of harassment and intimidation. Private media outlets and those believed to have links with the opposition were targeted and at least three radio stations were closed down.