Annual Report: Madagascar 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Madagascar 2013

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REPUBLIC OF MADAGASCAR

Head of state Andry Nirina Rajoelina

Head of government Jean Omer Beriziky

Serious human rights violations, including hundreds of unlawful killings by the security forces, as well as illegal arrests and detention, continued to take place with almost total impunity. Political leaders, journalists, pastors and lawyers, as well as others critical of the authorities, were intimidated and some jailed following unfair trials.

Background

The political and social situation remained tense and security volatile in some parts of the country, especially the south. Some important provisions of the “Roadmap for Ending the Crisis in Madagascar”, signed in September 2011 by the majority of Malagasy political actors under the mediation of the Southern African Development Community, were not implemented. These included the termination of politically motivated legal proceedings; the protection and promotion of human rights and respect for fundamental freedoms; and return of political exiles. Members of the international community and the government confirmed that the presidential election would take place in May 2013. In mid-April 2012, an amnesty law covering January 2002 to 31 December 2009 was voted into law by both chambers of the “parliament”.

In September, Madagascar signed both the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, and the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Following Amnesty International's press release of 20 November highlighting serious human rights violations committed by security forces in the south and calling for an independent investigation, the Prime Minister decided to set up a commission of inquiry, to be led by the UN. Preparations for the inquiry were taking place at the end of the year.

Unlawful killings

There were widespread state killings of civilians over cattle theft, and a failure to protect hundreds from communal violence and mass murder, especially in the southern region of Anosy. Witnesses told Amnesty International that those unable to flee their homes were burned alive when security forces indiscriminately set fire to villages as part of the “Tandroka” military operation launched in September.

  • In September, security forces allegedly killed at least 11 people, including a six-year-old girl, and burned 95 homes in Elonty district. During the attacks, crops were destroyed and at least one school was razed to the ground. Officials said that only cannabis farms were destroyed by their forces.
  • Security forces extrajudicially executed suspected cattle thieves (“dahalo”), including one physically disabled person, in Numbi village in September. The parents and wife of a high-profile suspect were extrajudicially executed in Mahaly district in October.
  • At least 250 people were killed during the year around the southern town of Fort-Dauphin, in what the authorities described as communal clashes sparked by cattle thefts. Amnesty International feared the number could be far higher. Witnesses reported that neighbours had informed the authorities about an imminent attack on one village, in which at least 86 people were hacked to death by machetes, but the authorities had done nothing to prevent it.

Impunity

Security officials and members of armed groups responsible for serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, continued to act with impunity.