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Amnesty International Report 2008 - Togo

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 28 May 2008
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2008 - Togo, 28 May 2008, available at: [accessed 22 October 2017]
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.


Head of State: Faure Gnassingbé
Head of government: Komlan Mally (replaced Yawovi Agboyibo in December)
Death penalty: abolitionist in practice
Population: 6.5 million
Life expectancy: 57.8 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 136/119 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 53.2 per cent

Despite some reforms, freedom of expression continued to be curtailed. Regular reports were received that pre-trial detainees were tortured and ill-treated. No steps were taken to address cases of former victims who lodged complaints for past human rights abuses.


Legislative elections held in October were declared free and fair by international observers, including ECOWAS. The Constitutional Court announced that the Rally of the Togolese People (Rassemblement du peuple togolais, RPT) had won the majority of seats. The opposition party, the Union of Forces for Change (Union des forces pour le changement, UFC), which took part in the legislative elections for the first time since the beginning of the democratic process in 1990, challenged the results.

In February, Parliament passed a law on the status of the Togolese armed forces. The law aimed to guarantee that the army operate within the law and that its role in the country be non-political but did not address the accountability of security forces accused of human rights violations. In April, the governments of Ghana and Togo signed a tripartite agreement with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, on the voluntary repatriation of Togolese refugees who had lived in Ghana since 1992.

Visit of the Special Rapporteur on torture

In April, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture visited the country. While noting that the government had taken some positive steps in the recent past, he expressed concern that many people were detained without clear legal basis for prolonged periods in appalling conditions. He also noted that many detainees held by the police and the gendarmerie had been beaten by cord and wooden sticks in order to extract confessions.

Freedom of expression

The High Authority for Audiovisual and Communication (Haute autorité de l'audio visuelle) continued to exert pressure on independent media and journalists.

  • In January, Radio Victoire, a private FM radio, was suspended for 15 days for alleged unprofessional conduct. It appeared that this decision was taken after the radio management refused to ban a journalist who criticized the brother of the Head of State who was the former president of the Togolese Confederation of football.
  • In March, the authorities banned private radio Nana FM journalist Daniel Lawson-Drackey, after he criticized a government minister on air.


A collective of more than 100 victims of human rights abuses committed during the 2005 presidential elections filed several complaints throughout the year. Despite the fact that the Togolese authorities publicly committed themselves to put an end to impunity, no progress was known to have been made in the examination of these complaints.

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