Protection available to battered women (2003) [MDG41825.FE]

Violence against women is covered by various statutory provisions in Madagascar: article 309 (grievous bodily harm) of Decree no. 62-0213 of 10 August 1962, and articles 312 (grievous bodily harm of a father or mother and grievous bodily harm of a pregnant woman), 332 (rape) and 333 (sexual harassment) of Law No. 2000-021 of 28 November 2000 (Midi Madagasikara 26 Nov. 2002). However, there is no statute that specifically addresses domestic violence (United Nations 27 Feb. 2003, para. 352; Country Reports 2002 31 Mar. 2003, Sect. 5; Cybersolidaires 30 Dec. 2002).

According to Méline Rasoanirina, Secretary of State for the Status of Women and Children, [translation] "there are no shelters for battered women on the Big Island [Madagascar]" (Midi Madagasikara 26 Nov. 2002). Country Reports 2002 indicated, however, that husbands could be tried under civil law for nonrape abuses (31 Mar. 2003, Sect. 5).

The sources consulted by the Research Directorate provided contradictory information regarding the number of assaulted women in Madagascar, and on the attitudes society has toward these women. With respect to assaulted women, Country Reports 2002 stated that domestic violence against women was not widespread (31 Mar. 2003, Sect. 5). Cybersolidaires, however, noted [translation] "an alarming rate of abused women" (30 Dec. 2002). Husbands were reportedly responsible for 75 per cent of the complaints of grievous bodily harm filed with the Antananarivo city police (Cybersolidaires 30 Dec. 2002; Midi Madagasikara 26 Nov. 2002).

As for the attitudes society has toward assaulted women, Country Reports 2002 noted that "police and legal authorities generally intervened when physical abuse was reported" (31 Mar. 2003, Sect. 5). For its part, the Malagasy government provided the following information in its national policy for the promotion of women (Politique nationale de promotion de la femme):

Domestic violence is a fact; but the public seems to be moved only by extreme cases in which women are killed-murdered by their husbands under the influence of alcohol or jealousy-as demonstrated by the incidents reported by the press. Otherwise, it is generally considered-even by battered women-that what happens to a woman is no one's business but her own, unless she decides to divorce her husband (Madagascar Oct. 2000, 47).

Furthermore, a 16-day awareness campaign that aimed to [translation] "break the silence surrounding acts of violence against women" was launched in November 2002 (Cybersolidaires 30 Dec. 2002).

No additional information on the protection available to battered women in Madagascar could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints for this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2002. 31 March 2003. United States Department of State. Washington, DC. [Accessed 5 Aug. 2003]

Cybersolidaires. 30 December 2002. "Madagascar, 'zone rouge' de la violence envers les femmes." [Accessed 6 Aug. 2003]

Madagascar. October 2000. Politique nationale de promotion de la femme. [Accessed 6 Aug. 2003]

Midi Madagasikara [Antananarivo]. 26 November 2002. "Violence entre hommes et femmes : Madagascar dans la zone rouge !" (AllAfrica) [Accessed 6 Aug. 2003]

United Nations. 27 February 2003. Human Rights Commission. (E/CN.4/2003/75/Add.1). Integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective: Violence Against Women. [Accessed 11 July 2003]

Additional Sources Consulted

Attempts to contact three oral sources were unsuccessful.


IRB Databases

Internet sites, including:


Amnesty International

Center for Reproductive Rights

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)



Freedom House

Human Rights Watch

Initiative genre et développement

International Center for Research on Women

International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women



United Nations Mission in Madagascar

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Women in Development Network (WIDNET)

Women's Human Rights Resources

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