Last Updated: Wednesday, 01 October 2014, 14:56 GMT

July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report - Togo

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 13 September 2011
Cite as United States Department of State, July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report - Togo, 13 September 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e734c5d46.html [accessed 2 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
September 13, 2011

[Covers six-month period from 1 July 2010 to 31 December 2010 (USDOS is shifting to a calendar year reporting period)]

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally enforced these protections.

The government generally respected religious freedom in law and in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period.

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.

The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

Section I. Religious Demography

The country has an area of 21,925 square miles and a population of 6.6 million. The Demographic Research Unit of the University of Lome in 2004 estimated the population to be 33 percent traditional animist, 28 percent Roman Catholic, 14 percent Sunni Muslim, 10 percent Protestant, and 10 percent other Christian denominations. The remaining 5 percent includes persons not affiliated with any religious group. Many converts to Christianity or Islam continue to perform rituals that originated with indigenous religious groups.

Most Muslims live in the central and northern regions. Catholics, Protestants, and other Christians live mainly in the southern part of the country.

Section II. Status of Government Respect for Religious Freedom

Legal/Policy Framework

Please refer to Appendix C in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for the status of the government's acceptance of international legal standards http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/appendices/index.htm.

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally enforced these protections.

The government recognizes three religious groups as state religions: Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Muslims. The government requires other religious groups to register as associations. Official recognition as an association affords a group the same rights as the state religions. Officially recognized religious groups can receive import duty exemptions for humanitarian and development projects.

Organizations must submit applications for registration to the Directorate of Religious Affairs, which is located within the Ministry of Territorial Administration. A religious organization must submit its statutes, statement of doctrine, bylaws, names and addresses of executive board members, the group leader's religious credentials, a site use agreement, site map, and description of its financial situation. Criteria for recognition include the authenticity of the religious leader's diploma and, most importantly, the ethical behavior of the group, which must not cause a breach of public order. The Directorate of Religious Affairs issues a receipt that serves as temporary recognition to applicant religious groups and associations and allows them to practice their religion, pending investigation and issuance of formal written authorization, which usually takes several years.

The government did not reject any applications during the reporting period.

Religious organizations must request permission to conduct large nighttime celebrations, particularly those involving loud ceremonies in residential areas or that block city streets. Officials routinely grant these requests. The Ministry of Territorial Administration handles complaints associated with religious organizations, particularly noise complaints related to celebrations at night. The ministry sends security force personnel to address complaints.

The High Authority for Audiovisual and Communication, the government commission that monitors the media, prohibits political discussions on religious radio and television stations.

Public school curriculum does not include religion classes; however, Catholic, Protestant, and Islamic schools are numerous, and the government provides them with teachers and other staff and pays their salaries.

The government observes the following religious holidays as national holidays: Easter Monday, Ascension, Pentecost Monday, Assumption, Eid al-Fitr, All Saints' Day, Tabaski, and Christmas.

The constitution explicitly prohibits the establishment of political parties based on religion, ethnic group, or region.

Restrictions on Religious Freedom

The government generally respected religious freedom in law and in practice. There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period.

There were no reports of abuses, including religious prisoners or detainees, in the country.

Section III. Status of Societal Actions Affecting Enjoyment of Religious Freedom

There were no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Members of different religious groups regularly invited one another to their respective ceremonies. Intermarriage between persons of different religious groups was common.

The Christian Council addressed issues common to various Protestant denominations. Catholics and Protestants frequently collaborated through the Biblical Alliance.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy

The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights.

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