Togo

Human Rights in Togolese Republic

Amnesty International  Report 2013


The 2013 Annual Report on
Togo is now live »

Head of state Faure Gnassingbé
Head of government Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo (replaced
Komlan Mally in September)

Death penalty abolitionist in practice
Population 6.8 million
Life expectancy 57.8 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 134/116 per 1,000
Adult literacy 53.2 per cent

Ill-treatment of detainees and inhuman prison conditions were reported. Freedom of expression was curtailed.

Background

In August, the body of Atsutse Kokouvi Agbobli, a former minister of communication and head of the political department of the Organization of African Unity, was found on a beach near the capital Lomé. The cause of death remained unclear.

International scrutiny

In January, the Special Rapporteur on torture noted in a report the commitment of the Togolese authorities to combat torture. However, in most police stations and gendarmerie posts visited, the Special Rapporteur found evidence of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials during interrogation of detainees, and beatings by prison guards as punishment.

The Special Rapporteur expressed concern that young people and children were at risk of corporal punishment while in detention and that prison conditions amounted to inhuman treatment.

"The HAAC suspended radio stations and journalists considered critical of the authorities."

In August, the UN and AU Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders conducted a joint mission to Togo. During meetings the government acknowledged past human rights violations and said it would address them. Although the Rapporteurs acknowledged that the number of attacks and acts of intimidation against human rights defenders had fallen, they expressed concern about the stigmatization of human rights defenders who are seen as belonging to the political opposition. The Rapporteurs recommended that priority be given to ending impunity for violations against human rights defenders.

Freedom of expression

In July, the Togolese Coalition of Human Rights Defenders expressed concern about the abuse of power by the High Authority on Audiovisual and Communication (HAAC) and accused it of obstructing freedom of expression. The HAAC suspended radio stations and journalists considered critical of the authorities.

  • In January, Radio Victoire was pulled off the air for failing to comply with the HAAC’s instruction to ban a foreign journalist from participating in a radio discussion on a sports programme which criticized the Togolese Confederation of Football.
  • In February, Daniel Lawson-Drackey, a journalist with Nana FM radio, was “indefinitely suspended” from the air by the HAAC after making comments critical of the authorities. The National Commission on Human Rights considered that this decision was “abusive and violates the right to information and the right to press freedom”.
  • In July, the HAAC suspended the interactive programme of Radio Lumière, a station in Aného, southern Togo.

Impunity

In September, the representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights submitted the final report on national consultations for a future Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to President Faure Gnassingbé. The consultations helped to gather the views of Togolese people on the nature and mandate of the TRC, established to shed light on political violence in Togo. The report called on the Togolese authorities to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of witnesses, victims and alleged perpetrators.

No progress was reported in the examination of complaints lodged by victims of electoral violence in 2005.