Demonstrations Increasingly Becoming a Risky Form of Expressing Dissent in West Africa

In what confirms a culture of intolerance for demonstrations, security forces continue to unleash mayhem on demonstrators, with a total of 32 citizens and activists assaulted or detained during the third quarter of the MFWA’s monitoring of freedom of expression rights in West Africa.

The Media Foundation for West Africa’s monitoring of the freedom of expression landscape in July-September 2018 recorded 35 violations against a total of 63 identifiable victims including journalists and media houses.

Two demonstrators were killed in Guinea while others were sentenced in Niger. Civil society activists embarking on demonstrations were arrested in Sierra Leone and Togo.

The incidents follow similar trends in West Africa Freedom that have seen 22 demonstrators killed and several others injured, arrested and detained over the past two years.

The attacks on peaceful demonstrators, some fatal, are in breach of the fundamental human rights to free expression including peaceful assembly and demonstrations. These rights are enshrined in the national constitutions of all the countries concerned as well as various international human rights protocols, thus calling into question the commitment of the these governments of these legal instruments.

Details of these violations and others can be found in the July-September 2018 edition of MFWA’s West Africa Freedom of Expression Monitor.

Read the full report here.

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