Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

Madagascar: Information on the human rights conditions while President Ratsiraka and the AREMA party were in power

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 November 1994
Citation / Document Symbol MDG18959.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Madagascar: Information on the human rights conditions while President Ratsiraka and the AREMA party were in power, 1 November 1994, MDG18959.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aac7c.html [accessed 19 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

President Ratsiraka was reelected to a third seven-year term on 12 March 1989 (Revolutionary and Dissident Movements 1991, 208). However, Ratsiraka remained in office with greatly-reduced powers throughout all of 1992, as Madagascar was ruled by a transitional government (Country Reports 1992 1993, 144). Albert Zafy, leader of the opposition coalition Forces Vives, won the on 10 February 1993 presidential elections and replaced Ratsiraka (The Economist 20 Feb. 1993). This response will therefore consider the human rights situation for the years 1989 to the end of 1991.

For information on the human rights situation in Madagascar, please consult Country Reports 1991 and 1992 and Amnesty International Reports (1990 to 1992), which are available at your Regional Documentation Centre.

Please consult the attachment from Political Parties of the World for general information on AREMA.

In March 1989 Ratsiraka formally lifted the media censorship, and in December 1990 a communication bill provided further media liberalization (Country Reports 1990 1991, 203; Political Handbook of the World 1991 1992, 469). On 1 March 1990, a decree requiring that Madagascar's political parties belong to the National Front was lifted and new groups soon appeared on the political scene (ibid., 467). According to Country Reports 1990, however, this law was passed only in July 1990 (1991, 203).

For information on the series of demonstrations and strikes called by the Forces Vives in 1991, please consult Response to Information Request MDG18960.E of 9 November 1994, available at your Regional Documentation Centre. The attachments to this response provide information on the incidents of violence reported to have been carried out against the demonstrators, particularly during the demonstration of 10 August 1991.

Amnesty International Report 1992 states that in response to the naming of a provisional government by the opposition coalition Hery Velona (Forces Vives) in June 1991, Ratsiraka imposed a state of emergency on the capital that remained in effect until September 1991 (1992, 176). The attached Amnesty International report refers to a state of emergency that was imposed on the country on 23 July 1991. This state of emergency permitted the authorities to enforce a curfew until the beginning of September 1991, censor the press and restrict the movement of individuals it deemed a threat (28 Oct. 1991).

President Ratsiraka was accused by the opposition of kidnapping one of the ministers appointed by Forces Vives (Le Devoir 26 July 1991). In addition, according to several sources, either three or four Forces Vives "provisional government ministers" were detained and subsequently released by troops or commandos and detained (ibid.; AI 1992, 176-177; La Presse 30 July 1991).

This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Amnesty International. 1992. Amnesty International Report 1992. New York: Amnesty International USA.

. 28 October 1991. Urgent Action: Extrajudicial Executions. (AI Index: AFR 35/03/91). London: Amnesty International.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1992. 1993. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1990. 1991. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

Le Devoir [Montréal]. 26 July 1991. "Le pouvoir malgache choisit la répression." (DIRB country file)

The Economist [London]. 20 February 1993. "Madagascar: Start Again." (NEXIS)

La Presse [Montréal]. 30 July 1991. "Madagascar: Libérations." (DIRB country file)

Political Handbook of the World 1992. 1992. Edited by Arthur S. Banks. Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications.

Attachments

Amnesty International (AI). 28 October 1991. Urgent Action: Extrajudicial Executions (AI Index: AFR 35/03/91). London: Amnesty International.

Le Devoir [Montréal]. 26 July 1991. "Le pouvoir malgache choisit la répression." (DIRB country file)

The Economist. 20 February 1993. "Madagascar: Start Again." (NEXIS)

Political Parties of the World. 1988. 3rd ed. Edited by Alan J. Day. Chicago: St. James Press, p. 343.

La Presse [Montréal]. 30 July 1991. "Madagascar: Libérations." (DIRB country file)

Revolutionary and Dissident Movements: An International Guide. 1991. 3rd. ed. London: Longman Group UK.

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International Reports. 1990, 1991.

Lawyers Committee on Human Rights [New York]. Critique. 1990 to 1992.

DIRB "Madagascar" country file.

DIRB "Amnesty: Madagascar" country file.

Human Rights Watch World Report. 1990, 1992.

News from Africa Watch.

On-line search of media sources.

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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