West Africa: Crackdowns on protestors trigger 9% increase in FOE violations

West Africa saw a decrease in freedom of expression in the third quarter of 2022, with violations increasing by 9% in the period compared to the previous quarter.

The MFWA’s Freedom of Expression Monitor revealed that forty-six (46) violations affected 254 individuals in eight (8) countries between July and September 2022. The figure for the second quarter of 2022 stood at 42.

Of the 46 violations, Guinea recorded 18 violations to top the table of repression, followed by Nigeria (10 violations). Sierra Leone and Ghana recorded 7 and 4 violations respectively. Senegal, Liberia and Gambia recorded 2 violations each, while Burkina Faso recorded only one violation for this quarter.

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The quarter saw a relentless assault on the rights to freedom of assembly. Guinean authorities have banned protests and demonstrations on all roads. At least 8 protesters have been killed across the country in a deadly crackdown on rebels opposing the military government’s decision to remain in power for three years. In Sierra Leone, a violent crackdown on protests has killed at least 27 people and arrested more than 100, amid internet shutdowns and curfews. Protesting students in Liberia were repressed.

About 40 journalists were victims of violations during this quarter. Eleven of them were arrested during peaceful demonstrations at the premises of their media outlet in Senegal, while at least 6 of them were victims of physical attacks during protests in Guinea.

The report also highlights other key freedom of expression developments in West Africa, including redress for violations and recommendations to key stakeholders.







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