Prison conditions were very harsh and fell short of international standards. Security forces responsible for excessive use of force still enjoyed impunity.
There were several demonstrations throughout the year against the high cost of living in Benin. People protested against the rise in price of basic necessities including maize and rice as well as cement and oil.
Prison conditions were very harsh because of severe overcrowding in several prisons, largely because many detainees were awaiting trial for years. The conditions fell short of international standards, with several hundred children being held alongside adults.
Members of the presidential guard considered responsible for killing two people and injuring at least five others in Ouidah, 35km west of the capital Cotonou, in May 2007 had still not been tried at the end of 2008. An investigation into the case was opened, but its results were not made public.
In May, Benin was examined under the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and made a commitment to apply a moratorium on executions. The UPR Working Group recommended that Benin ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.