Compiled by Richard Ammon
From: US State Department Human Rights Report
Madagascar, with a population of more than 20 million, is ruled by an unelected and illegal civilian regime that assumed power in a March 2009 coup with military support.
Andry Nirina Rajoelina adopted the title of president of the transition, at the head of a loose coalition of former opposition politicians, and intends to remain in this position until elections are held. Former president Marc Ravalomanana, democratically elected in 2006 is in exile, and the parliament has remained suspended since then. In defiance of a negotiated agreement with the African Union (AU) and local political leaders, the regime failed to establish a legitimate transitional administration that would oversee free and open elections for the restoration of a legal government.
Military leaders continue to assert their autonomy from the current political leadership, despite their tacit support of Rajoelina’s de facto government. On November 17, the de facto regime held a unilateral and internationally unrecognized constitutional referendum that sparked an attempted coup by a small group of military leaders, which was resolved after almost three full days of negotiations. There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control.
The following human rights problems were reported: unlawful killings and other security force abuses; harsh prison conditions, sometimes resulting in deaths; arbitrary arrest and detention; lengthy pretrial detention; censorship; intimidation and arrest of and violence against journalists; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, and assembly; curtailment of the right of citizens to choose their government; official corruption and impunity; societal discrimination and violence against women, and trafficking of women and children; and child labor, including forced child labor.
Societal Abuses, Discrimination, and Acts of Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The law does not prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activity, and there was general societal discrimination against the LGBT community.
Sexual orientation and gender identity were not widely discussed in the country, with public attitudes ranging from tacit acceptance to outright physical violence, particularly against transvestite sex workers. Local NGOs reported that most organizations that worked with the LGBT community did so as health service providers, often in the context of their work to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS. LGBT sex workers were frequently targets of aggression, including verbal abuse, stone throwing, and even murder.
In recent years there has been an increased awareness of ‘gay pride’ through positive media exposure, but general attitudes have not changed.
The penal code provides for a prison sentence of two to five years and a fine of two to 10 million ariary ($1,000 to $5,000) for acts that are “indecent or against nature with an individual of the same sex under the age of 21.” There are reports of official abuses occurring at the community level, such as administrative officials denying health services to transvestite men or breaking confidentiality agreements, although no cases have ever been pursued in court.
A News Report About Sex for School Fees in Madagascar
From: IRIN News
August 1, 2011
Health and social workers are reporting a worrying increase in the levels of sex work, often by children who use the proceeds to pay for their education. This, and increasing child homelessness, is one of many social indicators of growing poverty.
Madagascar is experiencing international sanctions, the cancellation of preferential trade agreements and a withdrawal of international aid. Madagascar’s $600m textile industry has been hard hit, after Madagascar’s membership of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was cancelled in 2009.
A recent Ministry of Health HIV prevalence survey found that there was at least a 30 percent increase in new cases of sex workers, with many of them under 18 years of age. NGOs working with sex workers report that from a quarter to a half of the new sex workers are under 18.
Bernadette Ramanantohasa, 47, has been working as a sex worker in Isotry since becoming a widow in 2002, to supplement her income from hawking vegetables. Her deceased husband used to work as a night watchman at a primary school and earned $7.50 a month for their 11 children, four of whom have died of diarrhea-related illnesses.
Sex work earns Ramanantohasa about US$15 a month, as she charges between 75 US cents and $3. Four of her teenage daughters have also become sex workers.
“Now we are up against all types of people in this job because so many are looking for money. You even find young girls of 10, 12 and 13. Children are already putting themselves out there,” she said.
Voluntary street social worker Christine Rahantamalala has worked with 2,000 sex workers since 1997, but in the last few months, she told IRIN, she has registered 200 new sex workers, a quarter of whom are under 18. Read full story
(What is not reported here is the number a boys who have also turned to sex work which no doubt includes trading in homosexual activity.)