MADAGASCAR: National Laws

Summary: General overview of Madagascar's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.

National laws on children's rights

Status of the CRC in national law
The Preamble to the Constitution of Madagascar proclaims faithfulness to Madagascar's international commitments, specifically the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and provides that the Convention is an integral part of national law. The State has reported that this provision makes the Convention directly binding on judicial and administrative authorities, but limited information is available as to how the Convention is used in practice.

Constitution: Title II of the Constitution contains numerous provisions on the rights and duties of all citizens, but also two provisions that explicitly address the rights of children:

  • Art. 21: requires the State to protect the well-being of the family, the mother and the child by legislation and by appropriate social institutions
  • Art. 23(1): provides that children have the right to education and training, under the responsibility of their parents, and with respect for their freedom of choice

Legislation: Malagasy law does not contain a comprehensive Children's Act, though it does have a thematic law on the protection of the rights of children. Other relevant legislation can be found in a large number of Codes, Laws and Decrees including, but by no means limited to:

  • Law No. 2007-023 on the rights and protection of children
  • The Penal Code (amended by Law No 2007-038)
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (amended by Law No. 2007-021)
  • Law No. 2007-038 on the fight against trafficking in persons and sex tourism
  • Law No. 2003-044 on the Labour Code
  • Law No. 68-023 on the Social Benefits Code
  • Law No. 2005-014 on adoption
  • Law No. 2007-022 concerning marriage
  • Law No. 2004-004 establishing compulsory primary education
  • Law No. 2005-040 concerning HIV and AIDS
  • Law No. 97-044 on the rights of people with disabilities
  • Law No. 90-031 concerning communication (provisions on pornography and films harmful to children's development)
  • Law No. 2008-012 on the establishment of the National Council on Human Rights
  • Decree No. 2009-1147 on inclusive education

Legal Research:
The Assemblée nationale (National Assembly) maintains an official website (( that provides access to the Constitution and domestic legislation in French and Malagasy. The International Constitutional Law Project has published the Constitution in English ( but it should be noted that it has not been edited to take account of the 2010 reforms. The International Labour Organisation's NATLEX database (, also provides links to relevant legislation, largely in French. In addition, the U.S. Law Library of Congress ( and the World Legal Information Institute ( provide links to a selection of legal and government resources.

Case Law
CRC Jurisprudence
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any cases in national courts that reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Case Law Research
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any online Malagasy case law resources.

Compliance with the CRC
In its 2012 Concluding Observations, the Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomed a number of legislative reforms, particularly the passage of the Law on the Rights and Protection of Children and the amendments to the Penal Code in relation to combating trafficking and sex tourism. However, the Committee's recommendations persistently raised concerns as to the gap between legislation and practice, noting in particular the inadequate implementation of laws relating to sexual exploitation, violence against children, and discrimination against girls, twins, children with disabilities and children living with HIV and AIDS.

In depth analysis:
Beyond problems of implementation, the Committee on the Rights of the Child's 2012 Concluding Observations highlighted a number of areas of national law that were incompatible with the principles and provisions of the Convention. Of particular concern was the national system of juvenile justice, which provided no separate jurisdiction for children, lacked specialised training for professionals working with children in conflict with the law, and provided limited legal assistance for such children. Furthermore, children could be held in prisons as young as 14, and were held in substandard and overcrowded conditions. The Committee found that children, particularly girls, were regularly detained with adults. The Committee noted that the State had expressed its intention to reform its juvenile justice laws, but that a draft law on the subject had not been examined by the Assembly.

In the related matter of child witnesses and child victims of crime, the Committee noted "the high level of corruption in the judiciary" and the corresponding "negative effect on legal accountability for crimes against children". The Committee recommended that the State "take urgent action to prevent, investigate and punish corruption or any other undue influence in the justice system" and to ensure that child witnesses to, and victims of, crime are not deterred from seeking access to justice.

With respect to violence against children, including sexual violence, the Committee urged to State to eradicate impunity, particularly with regards to children with disabilities, and to ensure that such offences are investigated, prosecuted and appropriately punished. The Committee also urged the State to extend the prohibition on corporal punishment in schools to all settings, particularly in the home and alternative care settings.

Current legal reform projects
As of the 2012 Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Malagasy State had expressed its intention to reform the discriminatory aspects of the law in relation to nationality. At the time of these Observations, juvenile justice reform was also under way but had not yet been finalised, and a draft law on the administration of juvenile justice awaited the consideration of the National Assembly.


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.