Status: civil society and public discussions
Benin does not have a policy for the protection of human rights defenders (defenders or HRDs), but a draft law was developed and is pushed forward by civil society actors. Although the draft law was developed in 2018, the government has taken no further steps towards the implementation of this draft law.
In September 2018, a draft law on the Recognition, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Defenders in the Republic of Benin was validated by a working group on the protection of defenders created by Amnesty International, referred to as the Platform of Human Rights Defenders in Benin. The draft law was then submitted to government authorities, where no further steps have been taken towards its implementation as of yet. The draft law was developed in collaboration with Amnesty International, who continue to push for the adoption of this law by the government of Benin.
Benin is monitored by the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, who has not yet paid a country visit or mentioned in annual reports. Benin is also monitored by the African Union Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, but is not mentioned in any resolutions or reports as of yet.
Benin is also monitored through the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR). In the last report of October 2022, no mention of human rights defenders was made by the State. The State mentioned the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and the Demographic Dividend regional initiative, which is supposed to benefit civil society organisations as well, but is not aimed specifically at the protection of defenders. As of the date of this publication, the report of the UPR working group has not yet been published. No recommendations or questions have been made regarding the situation of human rights defenders, which means that the State has brought no new information regarding this subject.
CIVICUS monitor 2022 classifies Benin as “repressed”, which means that “civic space is significantly constrained”. Freedom House Index ranks Benin as “partly free”, with a particularly low score on the protection of political rights. Concerns include a strong repression of political opponents by President Patrice Talon and many arbitrary arrests of opposition members and violence against protesters surrounding the 2023 elections.
Last updated on 30/01/2023