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Department Seal


DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994

                 EQUATORIAL GUINEA

Nominally, since 1991 Equatorial Guinea has had a 
constitutional democratic government with judicial integrity 
and multiparty elections for national offices.  The reality is 
that President Obiang, in power since 1979, and a small group 
of his associates dominate the executive, legislative, and 
judiciary, and make no meaningful distinction among the 
branches of government or its party, the Democratic Party of 
Equatorial Guinea (DPEG).  Fraudulent legislative elections 
took place in November with the DPEG winning 68 seats out of 80 
in the National Assembly.  Boycotting the elections were the 
main opposition parties and an estimated 60 to 80 percent of 
the potential voters.  The new Cabinet was made up exclusively 
of DPEG members and was expanded from 34 to 42 portfolios.

As the country's senior military officer, Head of State, and 
government-party chief, Brigadier General Obiang also dominates 
the military and police.  Obiang's brother, Armengol Ondo 
Nguema, heads the security apparatus, which is responsible for 
frequent and severe human rights violations, usually inflicted 
to intimidate the population.  The authorities took no 
meaningful action against any security force member accused of 
human rights violations.  The large Moroccan Presidential Guard 
in country since 1979 departed in August, leaving an estimated 
20 Moroccan police to provide protection for the President.  A 
French-trained and -equipped special force of 200-250 persons, 
raised largely from Mongomo youth (Obiang's area), replaced the 
Moroccan Presidential Guard.

Equatorial Guineans live increasingly by subsistence 
agriculture as well as traditional hunting and fishing.  The 
small monetary sector, based on export of petroleum, timber, 
and cocoa, and heavily subsidized by foreign assistance, has 
recovered somewhat from the devastation of the Macias era 
(1968-1979) but is far short of preindependence levels.  The 
Government failed to implement needed economic reforms, and as 
a result, the International Monetary Fund in August suspended 
an enhanced structural adjustment program agreed to in 
January.  Pervasive corruption stifles private sector 
development and discourages legitimate investment from abroad.  
The great majority of the population goes without potable 
water, electricity, even minimal health care, or basic 

The overall human rights performance deteriorated 
dramatically.  Despite the historic agreement in March on a 
National Pact between the Government and opposition parties for 
political reform, and despite its public promises of an open 
and free electoral process, the Government continued to repress 
perceived opposition and to control the outcome of the 
legislative elections.  There were extrajudicial killings by 
the security forces--in numbers unknown since the 1970's--and 
numerous arbitrary arrests, short-term detentions, and 
extensive instances of physical abuse of perceived 
antigovernment elements.  Where prosecution was desired, the 
Government used military tribunals which failed to meet minimum 
international standards for fair trial.  The regime also 
attempted intimidation against foreign diplomats, including 
expulsion of the Spanish Consul General at Bata as well as 
thinly veiled threats by the regime against the Ambassadors of 
Spain and the United States.


Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were at least six politically motivated killings, the 
highest number in the 14 years since Obiang came to power.  
Four of the deaths were opposition party members and two were 
members of a minority group protesting government repression on 
the remote island of Annobon.  The Government did not 
investigate seriously any of the incidents.

Police detained Damaso Abaga Nve, an activist in the Popular 
Union Party (PU), without warrant in late March in Ebebiyin, 
the capital of Kie Ntiem province in the continental portion of 
Equatorial Guinea.  According to credible sources, he died 
during the night of March 30 after police beat him severely.  A 
committee appointed by the compliance commission, established 
by the National Pact, investigated and reported that Abaga had 
been illegally detained on oral orders from a senior local 
official, that he had died as the result of head injuries 
inflicted by the police while in custody, and that senior 
authorities had attempted to cover up the truth of his death.  
Not having prosecutorial authority, the commission called on 
the Government to investigate and take appropriate legal 
actions.  The Government did not follow up, claiming Nve had 
been found dead after his release from detention.

Similarly, police detained arbitrarily Gaspar Mba Oyono, a PU 
activist, and several others without warrant in late June in 
the district capital of Nsok Nsomo, Kie Ntiem province.  
According to credible reports, he was extensively tortured 
during 5 days.  Because of massive internal hemorrhaging, upon 
release Mba's family took him to the Kie Ntiem provincial 
hospital at Ebebiyin where he died 4 days later.  The 
Government did not acknowledge the death to be related to 
mistreatment during detention. 

On August 22, security personnel, led by a cabinet member, 
forced their entry into the hotel room of Moises Andres Mba 
Ada, the leader of the Popular Union Party who had returned 
from long exile the previous day, and apprehended Pedro Motu 
Mamiaga, a longtime PU political activist.  Motu had spent 
years in prison during both the Macias and Obiang regimes and 
had returned from exile in late July.  When Motu demanded to 
see a written order for his detention, police severely beat him 
by blows from rifle butts as well as kicks and punches as the 
arresting team attempted to force him into a police car.  
Motu's cries of alarm and struggle attracted the attention of 
numerous passersby, and eyewitnesses reported that Motu was 
severely injured during his arrest and removal.  He died during 
the night while in custody as a result of severe further 
torture by Secretary of State for National Security Manuel 
Nguemba Mba.  The Government announced the next day that Motu 
had admitted to being the leader of a plot to overthrow the 
Government and kill Obiang, and, out of remorse, had committed 
suicide.  However, the Government refused to return the remains 
to the family, buried him at an unknown site, and provided no 
written evidence that Motu was involved in a plot or medical 
proof that he had committed suicide (see also Section 1.e.).

On August 28 near the town of Bata, four youths had a 
nonpolitical altercation with Romualdo Rafael Nsogo, an 
activist in the Convergence for Social Democracy (CFDS).  Nsogo 
claimed he defended himself with a knife, killing one and 
wounding another.  Despite its lack of jurisdiction in the 
matter, a military tribunal on September 18 took 1 day to 
convict Nsogo of first degree murder, and a military firing 
squad executed him the following day (see Section 1.e.).

On August 13, on the remote island of Annobon, the local 
security detachment used excessive force in handling an 
incident in which a number of the island's youths, protesting 
economic conditions on the island, held hostage the island's 
Governor and military commander.  In the assault, the security 
forces killed an innocent bystander, Simplicio Llorente Yaye, 
and later shot and killed one of the young activists, Manuel 
Villarrubia, as he attempted to escape.  The authorities 
arrested 21 others, many of whom had taken no part in the 
holding of the officials, and the security forces, according to 
credible reports, tortured some of the detainees before taking 
them to Bata, where they were tried by a military tribunal for 
rebellion and supporting Annobon's secession from Equatorial 
Guinea (see Section 1.e.).  Eight were convicted in a 1-day 
trial in September, but they were pardoned in October; the 
other 15 were released without charge but were not returned to 

     b.  Disappearance

There were no documented disappearances.  However, families 
were often at a loss for days to locate and contact relatives 
who had been extrajudicially detained.  This was particularly 
true of active duty and former military personnel held at 
military camps.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

Police and other security forces continued routinely to 
administer torture and other cruel forms of mistreatment to 
prisoners.  Authorities employed a wide variety of techniques, 
including severe beatings, electric shock, pouring irritants 
such as diesel fuel on the skin, and hanging trussed victims 
from poles and wall hooks.  In the case of perceived enemies of 
the Government, the primary motives for physical and 
psychological torture often appeared to be to punish and 
intimidate more than to interrogate or gain confessions.  

Police often detained known or suspected opposition supporters 
only long enough to administer a beating.  A common punishment 
session involved 50 or 75 strokes with a rubber truncheon or 
short length of electrical power cable on the soles of the 
feet, back, buttocks, or other parts of the body.  Police also 
employed truncheon blows over the kidneys, leaving short-term 
hemorrhaging and possible permanent damage, blows to the head, 
and open-handed slaps over ear openings causing excruciating 
pain and in some cases leaving permanent injury.

In one well documented case, in January the Government arrested 
three well-known politicians returning from abroad:  
Benjamin-Gabriel Balinga Alene, Secretary General of the Social 
Democratic Party (SDP); Antonio Ebang Mbele, President of the 
Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA); and Estanislau Don 
Malavo, a senior adviser in the Liberal Party (LP).  The 
Government announced to the public over television and radio 
and to the diplomatic corps by formal note that the three had 
attempted to enter the country clandestinely at an unauthorized 
crossing point near Ebebiyin, when in fact they presented 
themselves for inspection at the Ebebiyin entry point.  Despite 
assurances to the public and foreign diplomats of fair 
treatment, the authorities took detainees to Bata where they 
underwent several hours of torture which included truncheon 
blows to the lower back and to the soles of the feet, followed 
by being forced to jump up and down.  Ten months following the 
incident, the three still suffered; Don Malavo, in particular, 
suffered from kidney damage.

In the trial of the nine active duty or former military members 
(see Section 1.e.), all of the accused had been tortured 
following their arrests in August.  At the trial, according to 
a reliable source, it was apparent that Sergeant Jacinto Nculu 
Abaga had been so recently tortured that he could not gesture 
with either hand; his face was marked; and he walked 
unsteadily, likely the result of blows to his ears affecting 
balance and coordination.

Prison conditions continued to be extremely harsh and life 
threatening, but no deaths were attributed directly to those 
conditions.  With no professional medical attention, no hygiene 
facilities in the holding cells beyond slop cans, and limited 
food for prisoners, families or friends must take food to 
detainees in the morning and evening.  Female prisoners are not 
singled out for rape or mistreatment, but women prisoners are 
not securely separated from men.  In October the prison 
authorities kept the 49 prisoners at Bata, including 3 women, 
locked in their cells for all but two short periods at dawn and 
sundown.  In December at the main police station in Bata, 28 
persons--1 opposition activist and 27 university students, 
including 5 women and 1 Roman Catholic priest--were confined 
and tortured for a week in a single room without sanitary 

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Despite constitutional provisions, there was little enforcement 
of the rights of persons in detention to be charged or released 
within a reasonable period of time, to have access to a lawyer, 
or to be released on bail.  Arbitrary arrests in nonpolitical 
cases by national security forces were commonplace, often on 
spurious charges, in order to extort money or to gain personal 
revenge.  Non-Guinean Africans--mainly petty traders from 
Nigeria, Cameroon, and Ghana--were often targets of extortion 
by regime agents.  Detainees were frequently held incommunicado.

The number of known detainees at any one time does not reflect 
the many more who passed through police and special forces 
custody for brief periods of time.  Many detainees were 
physically mistreated, administratively fined by their captors, 
and released without being arraigned before a court.  During 
the National Pact negotiations in February, the opposition 
produced a list of 64 names of political detainees, none of 
whom had been processed in the civil courts; most of them were 
released by April.  During widespread detentions in August, the 
number of political detainees probably exceeded 100 for a 
time.  Banishment to home villages--for which there is no legal 
provision--continued to be used against perceived political 
opponents, particularly former members of the security forces.  
Following legislative elections in November, more than 100 
persons were detained for various periods, allegedly for 
offenses ranging from holding political meetings to promoting 
the boycott of the elections.  These detentions for the most 
part took place in rural towns and villages of the continental 
portion of the country.

The number of political and security prisoners held at the end 
of 1993 was approximately 50; perhaps as many as 500 
politically inspired detentions took place during the year.

While the Government officially welcomes back exiles, it did 
not evidence a serious interest in promoting their return or 
offering support once back home.  The majority of returned 
exiles are considered by the Government to be political enemies 
and, as a result, were unable to obtain government 
employment--despite qualifications--or to engage in the private 
sector without harassment.  Discouraged and in some cases 
intimidated by detentions, several former exiles who had 
returned since 1992 and had became active in politics went 
abroad again.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

There is no effective separation between the executive and the 
judiciary.  All personnel of the judicial system, from clerks 
to Supreme Court justices, serve at the pleasure of the 
President.  The executive branch acts with little respect for 
judicial independence.

There is a formal court structure with the Supreme Court at the 
apex, and also military and customary (traditional) court 
systems.  Traditional laws and customs are honored when not in 
conflict with national law.  The Council provided for in the 
Constitution to decide constitutional issues was established in 
1993; of its five members, only three--including the Chief 
Justice--are fully trained lawyers.

The nation's mixture of traditional law, military law, and 
Franco-era Spanish rules and procedures results in an 
inconsistent system of justice, but one which the Government 
evinced little serious interest in reforming.  Corruption is 
pervasive, in part because judges and court officials are 
poorly paid and trained.  Appellate proceedings are virtually 
nonexistent.  Defendants unable to afford legal counsel stand 
little chance of acquittal.  With perhaps 5 notable exceptions, 
most of the country's few lawyers (approximately 36) depend on 
their connections to the regime for a livelihood, raising 
questions about their impartiality toward defendants.

In a clear trend during 1993, the Government preferred not to 
bring political cases before the civilian court system, relying 
instead on short-term detentions to intimidate its critics.  
Where trials were seen as useful politically, the authorities 
employed military tribunals even for civilian defendants or 
conducted unfair civilian proceedings.

Military tribunals heard three cases in September which did not 
meet international standards of fair trial.  On September 11 in 
Bata, a military tribunal took 1 day to hear the case against 
23 Annobonese civilians (2 in absentia) for attempting to 
overthrow the State (see Section 1.a.).  With no qualified 
attorneys representing the accused, the military tribunal 
sentenced the two who had led the protest, Orlando Cartegena 
Lagar and Francisco Medina Catalan, to 28 years in prison and 
six others to 20 years in prison.  It released the other 15 
individuals but did not permit their return to Annobon.  
Subsequently, in celebration of the 25th anniversary of 
independence, on October 11 Obiang pardoned the eight condemned 
Annobonese.  He simultaneously promoted 14 security force 
members who had participated in the August killings and torture 
on Annobon.

A military tribunal on September 17 found Romualdo Rafael 
Nsogo, a member of the opposition CPDS, guilty of first degree 
murder.  A military firing squad executed him the next day (see 
Section 1.a.).  Guinean civil law experts said that the process 
flagrantly violated the country's legal standards as the 
military had no jurisdiction over an all-civilian matter, that 
Nsogo did not have trained defense counsel, that the defendant 
did not have the right of appeal, and that the death sentence 
was not confirmed by another court as required in capital 
cases.  Nsogo would likely have been processed in a civil court 
on a lesser charge had it not been for his membership in the 
opposition party.

On September 23-24, in a case that grew out of the conspiracy 
claimed by the Government to have involved Pedro Motu Mamiaga 
(see Section 1.a.), a closed military tribunal in Malabo tried 
nine active duty and former military members for conspiracy, 
rebellion, and defaming and insulting the Head of State.  The 
military court found the accused guilty, including Sergeant 
Jacinto Nculu Abaga, who received 24 years in prison.  The only 
accused represented by a qualified lawyer, a civilian, was 

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 

Although required by the Constitution, search warrants are not 
used.  The regime frequently places under surveillance persons 
it deems suspicious.  Many believe telephone conversations are 
routinely monitored.  There is systematic interference with 
correspondence, and there were three attempts by the Government 
to inspect sealed diplomatic pouches of Spain and the United 

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and press.  
However, in practice, neither exists.

Most citizens are compelled to practice self-censorship of 
political expression.  Any vocal dissenter or associate of a 
dissenter puts at risk employment, access to public services, 
and even life.  For a time in 1993, the regime relaxed its 
usual heavy media censorship of dissent.  The political 
opposition appeared nightly on television during the 
February-March National Pact negotiations.  However, following 
its signing, the government-controlled media reverted to 
featuring the party of the regime and emphasizing the 
personality cult of the President as the sole benefactor of the 
country.  Opposition voices that gained occasional access to 
television after March were dissidents within parties 
reflecting intraparty bickering and those parties which had 
come to terms with the Government to participate in the flawed 
electoral process.

The security apparatus usually equates criticism of the regime 
with treason; and tries to prevent distribution of printed 
materials unfavorable to the regime.  There is no free press.

The controlled media consistently reported on alleged 
international plots to back opposition parties and of efforts 
to destabilize the Government.  The principal targets for these 
claims were Spain and the United States which were accused of 
working in concert with the three main opposition parties--the 
Party of Progress (PP), Popular Union, and the Convergence for 
Social Democracy.

Academic freedom is nonexistent.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The right of assembly and association is provided for in the 
Constitution.  However, any gathering of more than 10 persons 
for discussions that the regime considers political, even in 
private homes, is illegal without permission.

Legalized opposition parties experienced difficulty in holding 
even private meetings outside of the capital.  Contrary to the 
law, security officials routinely ignore or deny requests by 
the opposition to hold public meetings, and even when approved 
there usually is harassment from security and other officials, 
particularly outside the capital.  None of the opposition's 
dozen or so public meetings was given media coverage.  However, 
the political party of the regime, the DPEG, held hundreds of 
public and in-house meetings which were given daily coverage in 
the media.

On August 21, the prominent leader of the Popular Union, Andres 
Moises Mba Ada, returned to Malabo from 12 years in exile.  His 
return witnessed an unprecedented show of popular support as 
several thousand people appeared at the airport and along the 
highway into town.  Later a few hundred were gathered peaceably 
outside party headquarters when security forces arrived and 
without warning violently disbursed the crowd with truncheons 
and rifle butts, detaining over 30 and injuring a number of 
others who required hospitalization.  The regime claimed the 
crowd was blocking the street.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

Equatorial Guinea does not have an official state religion, and 
freedom of religion is generally respected, though ministers of 
religion are prohibited by law from being members of parties or 
making statements critical of regime officials or institutions.

Christianity, mainly Roman Catholicism, is the predominant 
religion, often interspersed with traditional religious 
practices.  The Islamic and Baha'i faiths are also practiced 
openly.  Jehovah's Witnesses was officially recognized as a 
legally inscribed religion in January 1994.  Even prior to 
recognition, Witnesses had been able to open a center in Malabo 
and hold regular services.  Proselytizing by Protestant 
denominations and construction of new churches were also 
permitted.  Foreign clergy and missionaries continue to have an 
active role in education and health.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Contrary to the Constitution and specific commitments by the 
Government with the opposition in the March National Pact, 
movement within the country by opposition politicians was 
routinely impeded by authorities; passports were routinely 
confiscated; and exit visas, required for nationals as well as 
foreigners, routinely denied, not only to perceived opponents 
but to their families as well, including for medical treatment 
abroad.  Transportation aboard the government-owned aircraft 
and passenger ship was occasionally denied to opposition 
politicians, who reportedly were told the transportation was 
for government-party loyalists only.

Other citizens generally may travel freely within the country.  
However, poorly trained and paid police often extort payments 
for passage through traffic checkpoints on major roads.

There are in general restrictions on travel abroad, including 
lengthy delays in obtaining passports and the required exit 
permit.  Many citizens leave the country without formal 
documentation for both economic and political reasons to reside 
abroad, mostly in Gabon, Cameroon, Spain, and France.  The 
principal receiving country was Gabon, where an estimated 
100,000-135,000 Guineans have settled over the years.

There was one political refugee living in Equatorial Guinea who 
had been documented by the United Nations High Commissioner for 

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

President Obiang remains the source of political power.  
Citizens do not have the right to change their government by 
democratic means.  There have been no free elections since 
1968.  All government employees--judges, legislators, mayors, 
civil servants, and security forces--serve at the pleasure of 
the President.

While President Obiang's political party, the Democratic Party 
of Equatorial Guinea (DPEG), is no longer the sole legal party, 
it continued to monopolize the political system.  Obiang 
acknowledged in July that the DPEG was supported by public 
funds.  The DPEG continued to receive dues from all government 
employees, including employees in state-owned enterprises, in 
violation of agreements made by the Government in the National 

In the legislative elections in November, 8 of the 13 legalized 
opposition political parties, as well as the United Nations and 
most of the international community, concluded a priori that 
the electoral process--from voter registration to vote 
counting--lacked minimal standards of fairness.  While there 
was no violence during the elections, there were widespread 
indications of irregularities committed by the Government, 
including multiple voting by individuals, vote padding, and 
miscounting.  The Constitution does not require presidential 
elections until 1993.

Women and minorities are seriously underrepresented in the 
political process.  In 1993, for the first time, a number of 
women opposition members became outspoken about the regime's 
excesses and the need for peaceful change following the 
extrajudicial death of political activist Pedro Motu Mamiaga in 
August.  In November, 3 women, all of the Government's party, 
won seats in the 80-member legislature.  This is down from the 
8 who sat in the previous 60-member body.  Two women were 
appointed to the 34-member Cabinet, as the Minister and the 
Vice Minister for Women's and Social Affairs.  There is one 
woman judge in the judiciary, a small scattering of women among 
the senior levels of the Civil Service, and a handful of women 
in noncommissioned and junior-service ranks of the security 

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations 
           of Human Rights

There are no local, nongovernmental human rights groups; none 
would be permitted to criticize openly the Government's human 
rights abuses.  The Equatorial Guinean Human Rights Commission 
formed in 1991 by President Obiang remained dormant.

The President rejected out of hand the annual report on human 
rights in Equatorial Guinea prepared by the United Nations 
Human Rights Commission's (UNHRC) special rapporteur, Fernando 
Volio Jimenez.  As has been the case since the first 
UNHRC-approved plan of action made in 1980 by Professor Volio, 
the Government did not respond to, or act upon, recommendations 
approved at the Commission's annual meeting in March.

The Government did permit the newly-appointed UNHRC Special 
Rapporteur, Alejandro Artucio, and human rights consultant 
Eduardo Duhalde to visit in October and December.  While the 
two had wide contact with the general public, visited the two 
main prisons, and called on President Obiang, few members of 
the Government were willing to receive them.

A special U.N. mission and two pairs of U.N. expert consultants 
traveled to Equatorial Guinea in April and July to assess the 
electoral process as well as the human rights situation.  
However, the Government rejected virtually all recommendations 
and offers of assistance extended by the United Nations and 
supported by the resident donor community.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) continued 
to visit Equatorial Guinea regularly but apparently did not 
reach agreement with the Government on prisoner visitation 
programs.  Amnesty International maintained close watch through 
in-country contacts and published extensively on the human 
rights situation.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status


Although the Constitution and laws provide for equal rights for 
women, they are largely confined by custom to traditional 
roles, especially in agriculture.  Polygyny, which is 
widespread among the Fang, contributes to the secondary status 
accorded women by society.  According to U.N. data, females 
receive only one-fifth as much schooling as males.  The 
Ministry for the Promotion of Women focuses on agriculture, 
handicrafts, and vocational and semiprofessional training.  It 
is interested in developing women's agricultural cooperatives 
and enrolling more women in the country's postsecondary schools.

There is discrimination against women regarding inheritance and 
family laws.  For an estimated 90 percent of the women in the 
country--i.e., virtually all ethnic groups except the 
Bubi--tradition dictates that if a marriage is dissolved, the 
woman must return the dowry given her family by the bridegroom 
at the time of marriage and the husband automatically receives 
custody of all children from the union.  Similarly, in the 
Fang, Ndowe, and Bisio cultures, primogeniture is practiced 
and, as women become members of their husband's families upon 
marriage, they are usually not accorded inheritance rights.  In 
theory, women may buy and sell property as well as goods, but 
in practice, the male-dominated society permits few women to 
have access to sufficient funds to engage in more than petty 
trading or to purchase real property beyond a garden plot or 
modest home.

Violence against women, particularly wife beating, is common, 
according to medical professionals.  


The Government has given little attention to children's welfare 
issues, and there are no groups that specifically address the 
needs of children.  Child abuse is uncommon.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Although the law provides for equal treatment for all citizens, 
all ethnic groups are not granted the same rights and 
privileges.  The Fang comprise 83 percent of the population, 
the Bubi 10 percent, and other groups--primarily closely 
related to the Fang--the remainder.  A small number of Fang 
clans, especially those of the President and relatives by 
marriage, dominate all aspects of the regime as well as the 
economy and social life.  Discrimination against the Bubi and 
Fernandino of Bioko Island, the Annobonese, and the Ndowe and 
associated coastal groups from the continent, is consistent, 
whether in the granting of political office or the approval of 
academic scholarships.

Although all ethnic groups were represented in the Cabinet, 
only Fang occupied positions of real power.  Following the 
November elections, the expanded (from 60 to 80 seats) 
legislature and the enlarged (from 34 to 42 members) Cabinet 
diluted the number and potential influence of minorities in 
those bodies.  Virtually all members of the security forces, as 
well as the presidential household, are Fang, and all policy 
and command positions in government are dominated by the 
President's closest ethnic associates from Mongomo.

For the first time since independence in 1968, a minority 
ethnic group made its political presence felt.  An underground 
Bubi-interest group emerged shortly before the November 
elections and publicly demanded a referendum on the island's 
independence.  Calling itself the "Movement for the 
Self-Determination of Bioko Island" (MSBI), the group 
spearheaded an electoral abstention rate estimated at 90-95 
percent among the Bubi, the island's largest ethnic group.

     People with Disabilities

There is no constitutional or legal provision for the 
physically disabled with respect to discrimination in 
employment, education, or provision of other state services.  
The Government has not enacted legislation mandating 
accessibility for the disabled.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The right to organize unions is provided for in the 
Constitution.  However, no enabling legislation has been 
passed, and in the small wage-economy no labor organizations 
exist, although there are a few cooperatives with limited 
power.  Strikes are prohibited by law.  There is a Labor Code 
which aims to uphold the dignity of the worker, but it is not 
generally enforced.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

There is no legislation regarding these rights or addressing 
antiunion discrimination and no evidence of collective 
bargaining by any group.  Wages are set by the Government and 
the employers, with little or no input by workers.  The 
employer must meet the minimum wage set by the Government, and 
most companies pay above the government established minimum.  
The Labor Code has served as a useful law in the mediation of 
selected cases involving compensation to discharged workers.

There are no export processing or free trade zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Forced labor and slavery are prohibited by law, and slavery 
does not exist.  However, numerous convicted prisoners and 
persons detained without formal charges perform day labor in 
households and businesses, on farms, and at residential 
construction sites of senior officials, including the 
presidential household.  There is no monetary compensation for 
forced labor, although two meals a day are accorded some 
household help.  The workweek is often 7 days for prison 

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The legal minimum age for employment is 16, but there is no 
enforcement of this law.  Children younger than 16 commonly 
assist rural families with agricultural production and in town 
in street vending.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There is only a small industrial sector in the country.  Most 
salaried employment is provided by the Government, construction 
companies, businesses providing retail goods and services, and 
the plantation agricultural sector.

A sliding scale of minimum wages was established in 1990.  
Entry-level positions begin at approximately $47 (CFA 14,000) 
per month.  However, the minimum wage law is not widely 
enforced, and agricultural workers frequently receive less than 
prescribed by law.  Government employees are explicitly 
exempted from the minimum wage law's provisions.  The minimum 
wage by itself does not provide a worker and family with a 
decent living, and most of those with regular salaried income 
have to supplement their earnings with income from other 
sources or by farming.

The law limits the regular workweek to 48 hours and guarantees 
employees 1 24-hour rest period per week, plus regularly 
scheduled national holidays.  The Labor Code offers 
comprehensive protection for workers from occupational hazards, 
but the Ministry of Labor does not effectively enforce the 
standards.  Safety and health committees which are explicitly 
sanctioned by the Code do not function, and employees who 
protest unhealthy or dangerous working conditions risk losing 
their jobs.

[end of document]


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