West Africa: Crackdowns on protestors trigger 9% increase in FOE violations
West Africa saw a decrease in freedom of expression during the third quarter 2022, with violations rising by 9% compared to the preceding quarter.
The MFWA’s Freedom of Expression Monitor revealed that forty-six (46) violations affecting a total number of 254 victims were recorded in eight (8) countries between July and September 2022. 42 was the figure for the second quarter 2022..
Guinea was the most severe violator of 46, with 18 violations. Nigeria was next, with 10 violations. Sierra Leone and Ghana both recorded 7 and 4 violations, respectively. Senegal, Liberia and The Gambia each recorded 2 violations, while Burkina Faso only recorded one violation for this quarter.
The rights to freedom of assembly were constantly under attack in the quarter. All street protests were prohibited in Guinea by the authorities. At least 8 protesters died in the country during deadly repressions against defiant demonstrators opposed to the military government’s decision to stay in power for three years. A violent crackdown on protests in Sierra Leone left at least 27 dead and more than 100 people arrested. This was despite an internet shutdown and curfew. Liberia’s student protestors were beaten.
During this quarter, around 40 journalists were the victims of violations. Eleven of them were arrested in peaceful demonstrations at their media outlet, Senegal. Six were also injured during protests that took place in Guinea.
The report also highlights other important freedom of expression developments in West Africa. It includes recommendations to key stakeholders and redress for violations.
The full report is available here.