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Newsletter n° 81 [ENG]

publié by Admin, le Tuesday 24 October 2017

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On 03 october 2017, Mr RALEVA, member of the group ’Justice et Paix’ and the regional branch of the Independent Observatory of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Madagascar (OIDESCM) coordinated by the RSCDA-IO/CRAAD-OI, had been arrested and put under preventive detention in Mananjary because he dared to ask for the official documents authorizing a Chinese company to resume its gold mining project, which had been stopped earlier by the Head of Region and National Office of Environment, in his village of Vohilava. Indeed, this project did not have all the required permits and used a chemical product that was very similar to mercury, which is particularly dangerous for the water, soil, surrounding crops and health of neighbouring populations. Mr RALEVA is accused of having misused the title of ’Head of District’, which is more than questionable, since the Head of District was present at the public meeting during which Mr RALEVA had spoken.

Since his detention, a bail application has been submitted by his lawyer. Moreover, several public statements along with hundreds of appeals for the immediate and unconditional release of Mr RALEVA have been sent to the concerned authorities by the RSCDA-IO/CRAAD-OI and its allies of the Collective for the defence of Malagasy lands - TANY, Amnesty International, Frontline Defenders and the Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (CCFD -Terre Solidaire).

While Mr RALEVA is in his 18th day in prison, we have learned that
- the preventive detention chamber has rejected the bail application of Mr RALEVA following the judgement No. 147 of 13rd October 2017.
- Moreover, no date has been set for a possible inquiry, nor for the trial itself.

All this is being done without providing any explanation, which demonstrates the clear willingness of the concerned decision makers to punish Mr RALEVA for having exercised his rights to freedom of expression and to information, and to stifle any community protest against the illegal gold mining project of the Chinese company.

At this critical juncture, 
- we urge the competent authorities to urgently fulfill their obligations to respect and to ensure the realisation of the fundamental rights of Mr RALEVA, and to put an end to the threats to his already fragile health status caused by the prison conditions.
- We call on all people of conscience, and organisations working for human rights and social justice to strengthen the struggle for the liberation of Mr RALEVA, who is considered as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International

What happens to him affects us all, not only because he is detained unfairly, but also because his freedom of conscience and expression is also the freedom of us all. Just as with the 4 persons who are also prisoners in Miadanandriana-Ampefy for having defended their lands, our fundamental rights and dignity are at stake.

20th October 2017

- For the Reasearch and Support Center for Development Alternative – Indian Ocean (RSCDA-IO) :
Randriamaro Zo, Coordinator ; craad.madagascar@gmail.com ; http://craadoi-mada.com

- For the Collective for the Defense of Malagasy Lands - TANY - Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches – TANY : Rakotondrainibe Mamy, President ; patrimoine.malgache@yahoo.fr ; http://terresmalgaches.info

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