Madagascar: Journalist acquitted but severe civic space restrictions persist

Statement at the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council
Madagascar's adoption of Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights
Watch us deliver our statement below

CIVICUS welcomes Madagascar’s acceptance of 22 recommendations focusing on civic space in this UPR cycle. However, in our UPR submission, we documented that since its last review, Madagascar has only partially implemented two recommendations and has not taken concrete steps to implement 20 of the recommendations relating to civic space made in 2014. 

We welcome the acquittal of investigative journalist Fernand Cello by the Fianatantsoa Appeals Court two years after he was arrested and charged with the theft of a cheque book. This acquittal is a necessary step in respecting the rights of journalists and media houses.

However the Code of Media Communications Law imposes heavy fines for offences such as contempt, defamation and insult against a government official.  In addition, flaws in the criminal justice system allow the judiciary to rule under the influence of the executive.  Pre-trial detention including of human rights defenders and journalists is prevalent and used as a strategy to force them to self-censor. 

Freedom of assembly continues to be restricted as the authorities use the pretext of engendering public order to ban protests by civil society groups.  We are concerned about the high levels of judicial persecution, intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders particularly those advocating for environmental and land rights.

Madame President, CIVICUS calls on the Government of Madagascar to take proactive measures to address these concerns and implement recommendations to create and maintain, in law and in practice, an enabling environment for civil society.

Civic space in Madagascar is currently rated as Repressed by the CIVICUS Monitor

See our recommendations that were submitted to the UN Human Rights Council about the conditions of human rights in Madagascar.

See our wider advocacy priorities and programme of activities at the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council


Related Articles