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.
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.
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.
Security officials and members of armed groups responsible for serious human rights violations, including unlawful killings, continued to act with impunity.
- A complaint into the death of prosecutor Michel Rahavana remained under investigation a year later. He was killed in December 2011 by a group of police officers attempting to release a colleague who had been arrested by the prosecutor in connection with a theft. The minister in charge of the police, the Minister of Internal Security, who was in the town at the time of the death, was allegedly informed that the attack was about to happen but failed to prevent it. The Minister of Justice announced at the end of 2011 that an investigation would be conducted.
- No official investigation was opened into the killing of taxi driver Hajaharimananirainy Zenon, known as Bota, despite assurances from the Minister of Justice. Bota's family lodged a formal complaint on 30 August 2011 following his arrest, torture and killing by members of the Intervention Police Force (FIP) on 17 July 2011 in the 67ha neighbourhood of Antananarivo.
Freedom of expression – journalists
Several media outlets, including Radio Fahazavana, remained closed. At least five other radio stations were closed in February. The authorities continued to use the judiciary to intimidate and harass journalists.
- On 13 November, Radio Free FM journalists Lalatiana Rakotondrazafy and Fidèle Razara Pierre each received a three months' suspended sentence and a fine of ariary 1 million (around US$500) by an Antananarivo tribunal. The two had been released on
- 3 May after being detained for 24 hours. In June, the authorities prevented them from leaving the country. They were convicted of defamation and spreading false news after a complaint by Ravatomanga Mamy, a businessman and official adviser to the President. Fearing for their safety, the two journalists, along with a technician from the radio station, had previously spent more than two months in the compound of the South African embassy in Antananarivo from 1 August.
- On 8 and 9 November, four newspaper journalists – Zo Rakotoseheno, director of Midi Madagasikara; Rocco Rasoanaivo, director of La Nation and president of the journalists' trade union, Syndicat des journalistes malgaches; and Fidy Robson and Herivonjy Rajaonah, director and chief editor respectively of Gazetiko – appeared before the gendarmerie in Betongolo, Antananarivo. Ravatomanga Mamy, a businessman and official adviser to the President, had lodged a complaint against the journalists after the newspapers published extracts of a statement by a local chief accusing the businessman of links to trafficking in rosewood. The journalists were sent to the prosecutor's office on 12 November. They were not detained but their case was still under investigation at the end of the year.
Amnesty International visits/reports
- An Amnesty International delegate visited Madagascar in November.
- Madagascar must end mass killings and investigate security forces (PRE01/570/212)