Constitutional Provisions

The Union of the Comores (Comoros) is a state consisting of three islands east of Mozambique (Anjouan, Grande Comore, and Moheli). The 2001 Constitution of Comoros (as amended) does not explicitly guarantee the right to life or the right to freedom from inhumane treatment. The preamble to the Constitution does proclaim the rights of each individual to freedom and security "under the sole condition that he does not commit any act likely to harm others" as well as the right to freedom of assembly.

Article 9 of the Constitution provides that police in the cities and in the rural areas shall fall within the jurisdiction of the autonomous islands. There is also a federal police service.

In October 2018, five days of clashes between protesters and police on Anjouan island ended after the national government, local authorities, and the Anjouan capital Mutsamudu signed an agreement to end the violence. The disturbances worsened when government officials said soldiers shot dead two people and wounded four as violence broke out in Mutsamudu between masked men and the military.

Treaty Adherence

Global Treaties

Adherence to Selected Human Rights Treaties
1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Signatory
ICCPR Optional Protocol 1 N/A
1984 Convention against Torture (CAT) State Party
Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints No
CAT Optional Protocol 1 State Party
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties
1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court State Party

Regional Treaties

Adherence to Regional Human Rights Treaties
1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights State Party
1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court State Party
Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions No
Adherence to International Criminal Law Treaties at Regional Level
Malabo Protocol on Amendments to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights Signatory

National Legislation

Police Use of Force

The Comoros gendarmerie reports to the Minister of Defence while the National Directorate of Territorial Safety oversees the federal police service. 

Under Article 91 of the 1981 Penal Code of the Comoros (as amended), the police or other law enforcement agency may use force to disperse an unlawful assembly if violence is used against them or if they cannot defend by other means the area they occupy or for which they are responsible. The amount of force that may be used is not restricted.

Police Oversight

There is no independent civilian police oversight body in Comoros.

In its 2017 human rights report on Comoros, the United States Department of State claimed that: "Impunity was a problem, and there was no mechanism to investigate police abuses."

Caselaw

Global

Comoros came before the Universal Periodic Review under the United Nations Human Rights Council in January 2019. In its national report, Comoros stated that:

The population is able to exercise its fundamental rights without restriction, although there are occasional lapses on the part of the public authorities, for example the police or the army. These lapses can often be explained in large part by a lack of familiarity with the rules.

 

Regional

In 1999, in a resolution on the Situation in Comoros, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights declared that the military coup d’état in Comoros was "a grave and unacceptable violation of the rights of the Comorian People to freely choose their government"; and called on the de facto military authorities in this country to ensure that:

The fundamental rights and freedoms contained in the constitutional provisions of Comoros are given pre-eminence over any other form of legislation that may emanate from the authorities in place.

Downloads

2001 Constitution of Comoros (as amended)

Comoros National Report for the UPR (2018)

1981 Penal Code of the Comoros (as amended) (French original)

1981 Penal Code of the Comoros (as amended)