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Southern Africa: Region's leaders must address human rights violations

© SADC

COVID-19 still devastating the region, exposing stark inequalities and threatening vulnerable communities Amnesty calls for debt cancellation for the world’s poorest countries for at least two years in response to the pandemic Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders must urgently take measures to fix the human rights crisis in the region when they meet at their annual summit next week, Amnesty International said today. COVID-19 is still devastating the region, exposing stark inequalities and particularly threatening vulnerable communities, while crackdowns on peaceful dissent in

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DOMOINA RANABOSOA STILL FACES CHARGES

Domoina Ranabosoa still faces charges

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DOMOINA RANABOSOA TEMPORARILY RELEASED

Domoina Ranabosoa temporarily released

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On 10 March, 33-year old Domoina was sent to pre-trial detention in Madagascar’s capital city’s prison, Antanimora. As exposed in Amnesty International’s 2018 report ‘Punished for Being Poor: Excessive, Unjustified and Prolonged Pre-trial Detention in Madagascar’, conditions of detention in Madagascar are inhumane, because of an excessive and prolonged use of pre-trial detention, which has in turn resulted in severe overcrowding across the country. On 7 April, Domoina’s request for temporary release was approved and she was finally able to unite with her family. However, the charges against her still stand. 

The charges brought against Domoina are that of ‘corruption of minors under 21 years old’, as she is accused of having a (consensual) relationship with her 19-year old girlfriend, Fyh. In Madagascar, the criminal code in its Article 331 punishes with up to five years imprisonment ‘anyone who has committed an indecent or unnatural act with a minor of their own sex, less than 21 years old’. Fyh and Domoina had decided to move in together, a decision which did not go well with Fyh’s mother, leading her to sue Domoina under this provision. 

Because of the threat of covid-19, Domoina had been told that she could no longer receive visits from her lawyer, or relatives, and that her trial, initially scheduled for 10 April, has been postponed to an undetermined date. As exposed by Amnesty International’s previous research, the government of Madagascar abusively uses pre-trial detention, constraining detainees to live in unhygienic and overcrowded conditions, and with the new threat of covid-19, pre-trial detainees will have to wait for their trials for even longer periods, while risking falling sick. 
 

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WOMAN DETAINED BECAUSE OF DISCRIMINATORY LAWS

Woman detained because of discrimination laws

Budapest Pride 2019
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On 10 March, 33-year old Domoina was sent to pre-trial detention in Madagascar’s capital city’s prison, Antanimora. As exposed in Amnesty International’s 2018 report ‘Punished for Being Poor: Excessive, Unjustified and Prolonged Pre-trial Detention in Madagascar’, conditions of detention in Madagascar are inhumane, because of an excessive and prolonged use of pre-trial detention, which has in turn resulted in severe overcrowding across the country. 

The charges brought against Domoina are that of ‘corruption of minors under 21 years old’, as she is accused of having a (consensual) relationship with her 19-year old girlfriend, Fyh. In Madagascar, the criminal code in its Article 331 punishes with up to five years imprisonment ‘anyone who has committed an indecent or unnatural act with a minor of their own sex, less than 21 years old’. Fyh and Domoina had decided to move in together, a decision which Fyh’s mother disapproved of, leading her to report Domoina to the police under this provision. 

In an interview with Amnesty International, Domoina’s girlfriend, Fyh, explained that she was raped by her father and grandfather, from the age 6 to 16, during which she had to undergo two abortions (also criminalized by Malagasy law). After meeting Domoina and sharing her problems with her, Fyh finally found the courage to sue her father, and this is when her relationship with her mother became strenuous, as her mother accused her of destroying the family unity. Fyh believes the lawsuit is driven by her mother seeking to take revenge by attacking her girlfriend. 

Because of the threat of COVID-19, Domoina was told that she can no longer receive visits from her lawyer or relatives, and that her trial, initially scheduled for 10 April, has been postponed to an undetermined date. As exposed by Amnesty International’s previous research, the government of Madagascar abusively uses pre-trial detention, constraining detainees to live in unhygienic and overcrowded conditions, and with the new threat of COVID-19, pre-trial detainees will have to wait for their trials for even longer periods, while risking falling sick. 
 

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Madagascar: children amongst thousands held in life-threatening prison conditions - new report

52 pre-trial detainees died in Madagascar’s prisons in 2017 Children sharing cells with convicted criminals 700 people detained in a prison with an official capacity of 121 Almost half of prisoners in Madagascar suffer from moderate or severe malnutrition Pictures can be downloaded here ©Amnesty International/September 2018 People - including children - who have not been found guilty of any crime are dying in Madagascar’s prisons due to appalling conditions, Amnesty International said today, as it released a report highlighting how the Malagasy authorities’ excessive use of pre-trial detention

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Madagascar: Investigate police behind shocking video of beaten villagers

Amnesty has verified a video posted to Facebook showing Malagasy police beating and humiliating dozens of villagers, in the same town where law enforcement officials turned on citizens and set fire to their houses after two policemen were killed last month. Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, said: “The behaviour of the police, as depicted in the video, is utterly abhorrent and condemnable. This brutality shows the contempt with which the police in Madagascar treat human life. “It is totally unacceptable that the Malagasy police should ill-treat and

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Urgent Action Update: Environmental rights defender to appeal suspended sentence in Madagascar

Raleva has been released after being handed a two-year suspended sentence. He is appealing the sentence.

1st Update on UA 237/17 issued 01/11/2017

Urgent Action: Environmental human rights defender in Madagascar falsely accused

Malagasy environmental human rights defender Raleva has been detained based on the false charge of ‘use of false title’.

UA 237/17 issued 10/10/2017

Urgent Action good news: Three charges against journalist dropped in Madagascar

Fernand Cello, a Malagasy investigative journalist, has had three charges which were related to his journalism work dropped. These charges were related to his journalism work. He is also now receiving the medical care he needs.

1st update on UA 108/17 issued 08/06/2017

Urgent Action: Detained journalist needs proper medical care in Madagascar

Fernand Cello, a Malagasy investigative journalist, is facing seven charges including ‘defamation’, ‘endangering state security’, and ‘incitation to hatred’ after he was arrested on Friday, 5 May.

UA 108/17 issued 15/05/2017
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