Human rights violations were committed with almost total impunity by the security forces, including unlawful arrests and detentions, excessive use of force against demonstrators and attacks on journalists and opposition leaders. Political opponents of the government were denied fair trials.
The political situation remained unstable and the international community was unable to resolve the political crisis that began in December 2008. Negotiations in Pretoria failed in May. Madagascar continued to be suspended from regional and international organizations.
Several ministers were dismissed by Andry Nirina Rajoelina, head of state and of the High Transitional Authority (HAT). Tensions remained high within the army. In May, at least four security personnel were shot dead in clashes in the Fort Duchesne military camp. Some senior officers and at least 22 gendarmes were detained following this incident. On 17 November, a mutiny erupted on the day of a national referendum and some military officers announced the creation of a “military council for the welfare of people”. They later surrendered to the HAT authorities.
Explosions occurred in various places including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in October.
A National Electoral Commission was installed in March and a national referendum and local elections took place in November and December; presidential elections were planned for 2011. The authorities banned any public demonstration during electoral periods.Top of page
Regular public demonstrations organized by the opposition were violently dispersed by the security forces, resulting in deaths and injuries. Those responsible enjoyed impunity.
Political opponents of the HAT and supporters of former President Marc Ravalomanana were arbitrarily arrested and detained by the security forces. Some people arrested in 2009 were still detained. At least 18 detainees went on hunger strike.
Journalists continued to be victims of harassment and intimidation. Private media outlets and those believed to have links with the opposition were targeted and at least three radio stations were closed down.
The trial of those accused of unlawful killings at Ambohitsorohitra presidential palace on 7 February 2009 started in June. At least 19 people were sentenced to various prison terms. The trial did not meet international standards of fairness. The right to defence, the right to challenge the lawfulness of detention, the right to a fair hearing and the right to defend oneself in person or through a lawyer were denied to some of the defendants.