Demonstrations by political parties and students were dispersed by security forces using excessive force. Torture was used in order to extract confessions. Freedoms of expression, assembly and of the press were undermined by the authorities. The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) published its first findings but by the end of the year no concrete measures had been taken to end impunity.
Throughout the year, demonstrations in favour of political and economic changes were regularly organized, some of them resulting in clashes between protesters and security forces.
In January, the authorities tried to prevent publication of a report by the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH). The report condemned torture by security forces and notably by the National Intelligence Agency against civilian and military personnel accused of plotting against the state, including Kpatcha Gnassingbé, half-brother of the President. Following national and international protests, the authorities accepted the findings of the CNDH and committed to implement its recommendations to fight against impunity. However, by the end of the year no concrete steps had been taken.
In May, the National Assembly adopted a law amending the Electoral Code. Several opposition parties accused the authorities of having “unilaterally” adopted the amendments and demanded their repeal. Changes were made to the legislation after protests, but some opposition parties still refused to restore dialogue and disagreed on the conditions for organizing legislative elections originally scheduled to be held before the end of 2012 and postponed until 2013.Top of page
The security forces regularly used excessive force to repress demonstrations organized by political parties.
Torture in pre-trial detention was used to extract confessions or implicate defendants.
The authorities curtailed freedom of expression and assembly by threatening human rights defenders and banning demonstrations. They claimed these measures were necessary to prevent risks to safety and to maintain public order.
Security forces targeted journalists who were covering or filming anti-government marches.
Conditions in many detention centres amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment due to overcrowding and lack of access to health care. The situation reportedly led to a number of deaths, including at least 19 prisoners at Lomé civil prison.
In April, the TJRC issued its first report after conducting interviews with victims and alleged perpetrators of political violence between 1958 and 2005. The President asked for forgiveness on behalf of the nation and the authorities committed to take appeasement actions and award compensation to victims. However, at the end of the year, no concrete action had been taken.Top of page