Statements and speechesOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Comment by UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Seif Magango ahead of elections in Madagascar
10 October 2023
We are concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in Madagascar in the lead up to presidential election next month after security forces used unnecessary and disproportionate force to disperse four peaceful protests in two weeks.
As campaigns officially kick off today, we urge the Malagasy authorities to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law throughout the electoral period - and beyond. There should be clear instructions to the security forces to uphold the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly and to refrain from using disproportionate force - to create an environment conducive to free, fair, and transparent elections. Processes for maintaining public order, such as the need to obtain authorisations for peaceful protests, should not be used to deny or discourage peaceful assemblies.
A demonstration called by 11 opposition candidates on 2 and 3 October was dispersed by the security forces using teargas, beatings and arbitrarily arresting scores of protesters and bystanders. Two presidential candidates and a former Interim President were injured and had to be admitted to hospital. Subsequent protests on 6 and 7 October were also met with teargas and rubber bullets from the security forces. We note that two other demonstrations were not disrupted and ended peacefully without the intervention of security forces.
Some of those arrested during the protests over the last two weeks remain in detention, among them the secretary-general of one of the opposition political parties. Their situations should be promptly brought into compliance with applicable law.
For more information and media requests, please contact: