Status: Civil society or public discussion

Since 2018, a draft law on the protection of human rights defenders was developed in collaboration with the Malagasy government. As of July 2022, the law is in the process of being finalised by the High Council for the Defense of Democracy and the Judicial State.

The draft law was developed by civil society organisations in collaboration with the Malagasy Ministry of Justice. It contains several promising provisions, such as a broad definition of human rights defenders (under which environmental defenders, artists and whistleblowers are explicitly included). The text currently lies with the Minister of Justice, without a much transparency on further developments.

Madagascar falls under the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa. There have been no reports or press releases on Madagascar released by the office of the Special Rapporteur. Madagascar is included in the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, but the current or previous rapporteurs have not yet visited the country. Madagascar is not mentioned in thematic reports published by the bureau.

Madagascar has been reviewed during the Universal Periodic Review in 2019. During this review, Madagascar received and accepted several recommendations on the protection of human rights defenders, including calls to ensure freedom of expression, to cease harassment and arbitrary detention and to decriminalise insult and defamation.

Madagascar is rated as “repressed by CIVICUS monitor 2022, which means that civic space is “significantly constrained. The Freedom House Democracy Index rates Madagascar as “partly free”. The expressed concerns are mainly about restrictive defamation laws limiting press freedom and frequent attacks on environmental defenders.

Updated on 19/08/2022

In Madagascar, the number of attacks on human rights defenders and whistleblowers is increasing. A draft law on the protection...