Me Reine Alapini-Gansou, is following with keen attention the situation of human rights defenders in Benin, precisely regarding restrictions on freedoms of expression and demonstration.
The Special Rapporteur is particularly worried by the recent events which occurred in the country, which includes, among others, the assassination attempt on the life of Mr. Martin Assogba, President of the NGO, Association for the Elimination of Racism, Ethnocentrism and Regionalism (ALCRER), on the night of 9 and 10 December 2013, and the police repression of workers’ demonstrations on 27 December 2013.
These acts took place against the background of regulatory restrictions of demonstrations directed at human rights defence groups, including incessant threats against opinion leaders in Benin.
The Special Rapporteur strongly condemns such actions which constitute an infringement on the right to life, security of persons, civil and political rights in general.
In this regard, the Special Rapporteur invites the Beninese government to ensure that human rights defenders are allowed to carry out their activities in a congenial environment by fully implementing the existing legal framework and refraining from stigmatising them and encouraging a spirit of dialogue and constructive criticism.
Furthermore, the Special Rapporteur reminds the Beninese Government of its international obligations, particularly those ones laid down in the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
Finally, the Special Rapporteur would, at the same time, like to encourage the political authorities of Benin to continue with efforts to guarantee the physical integrity and security of all human rights defenders working in the country.
Done in Banjul, on 7 January 2014