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TITLE:  TOGO HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1993                              
DATE:  JANUARY 31, 1994


During 1993 President Gnassingbe Eyadema continued to 
consolidate effective state power.  He arbitrarily declared the 
termination as of December 31, 1992, of the transitional 
government including the legislative High Council of the 
Republic (HCR), which had been appointed by the National 
Conference in 1991.  In January he reappointed as Prime 
Minister Joseph Kokou Koffigoh, whose Government, though 
nominally independent, cooperated closely with the President 
throughout the year and regularly took policy positions 
consistent with Eyadema's views.  On August 25, Eyadena won 
reelection as President in an electoral process marred by 
serious irregularities and by the nonparticipation of all major 
opposition candidates and a majority of Togo's registered 
voters.  The opposition, known as the Collective for Democratic 
Opposition (COD II), and the HCR rejected the President's 
moves, including installation of the Koffigoh Government, as 

Toward year's end, the Government began preparations for 
legislative elections to be held in early 1994.  The Government 
agreed to meet some opposition demands concerning technical 
election preparations but did not accede to broader political 
demands.  Some opposition parties declared their intention to 
boycott the polls on the basis that genuinely free elections 
were not possible under prevailing circumstances, while others 
planned to participate provided that conditions they considered 
necessary were met.

The President's power rests on his control of the security 
forces, especially the army which is largely composed of 
officers (90 percent) and soldiers (70 percent) from the 
President's northern ethnic group.  The Togolese security 
forces, numbering approximately 13,000, consist primarily of 
the army, navy, air force, national police (Surete), and 
gendarmerie.  The Interior Minister is nominally responsible 
for the national police, whose director reports in reality to 
the President.  The Defense Minister nominally supervises the 
other Togolese security forces but, in fact, they report 
through the General Staff to President Eyadema.  Security 
forces committed various human rights abuses.  The call for the 
creation of a politically neutral special security force with 
the task of providing election security was one of the key 
demands cited by the opposition and independent labor unions in 
launching the November 1992-July 1993 general strike, along 
with a demand for a declaration of neutrality by the army and a 
reshuffling of the Cabinet of Ministers to include more 
opposition representatives.

About 80 percent of its 3.4 million people are engaged in 
subsistence agriculture, but the country also has an active 
commercial sector.  Togo has an annual per capita gross 
domestic product of less than $500.  The 8-month general strike 
severely damaged both the public and private sectors of the 
economy.  Declining prices for Togo's principal exports 
(phosphates, coffee, cocoa, and cotton) continued to affect the 
economy adversely.

The human rights situation deteriorated significantly in 1993, 
with the President turning back the clock on democratic 
progress and with the security forces engaging in massive 
abuses, including political killings and intimidation of 
political opponents and the press.  During the year, several 
hundred thousand people became displaced or temporarily fled 
the country for safety, and the political opposition became 
increasingly divided, with some of its partisans committing 
serious abuses.  The President frequently benefited from the 
pattern of army violence, which intimidated the opposition and 
strengthened his hold on power.


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

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

Government security forces and, to a lesser extent, opposition 
partisans were responsible for political and extrajudicial 
killings.  On January 25 and 30, members of the security forces 
committed a series of extrajudicial killings.  In the January 
25 incident in Lome, the forces fired on crowds of unarmed 
opposition demonstrators, numbering in the thousands, killing 
at least 19 and wounding many more, according to credible human 
rights sources. 

Between January 26 and 30, unknown assailants (but suspected to 
be opposition militants) killed and wounded at least four 
members of the security forces in Lome, primarily in 
opposition-dominated neighborhoods.  The military and the 
Government blamed COD-II for the killings.  On January 30, 
members of the security forces responded to these attacks by 
firing indiscriminately for a period of 8 hours in various Lome 
neighborhoods, killing at least 12 people and wounding 31 or 
more.  Security forces ransacked several houses belonging to 
opposition leaders and looted over 20 stores.  Much higher 
figures of dead and wounded have been cited for the January 25 
and 30 attacks, but these could not be confirmed.  The January 
30 incident provoked the flight of more than 250,000 Togolese 
to neighboring countries.  In addition, roughly 125,000 were 
displaced within the country as primarily Lome residents fled 
the capital's violence for the relatively peaceful countryside.

On March 25, in an attack credibly attributed to armed Togolese 
oppositionists, a group of commandos, some based in Ghana, 
attacked Lome's main military camp, killing General 
Mawulikplimi Amegi, President Eyadema's personal military Chief 
of Staff, and severely wounding the Commander of the 
Presidential Guard, Lt. Col. Gnandi Akpo, who later died of his 
injuries.  The apparent aim of the attack was to kill President 
Eyadema.  In retaliation, over a period of several days 
security forces summarily executed at least 20 Togolese, mainly 
soldiers.  The victims included Colonel Koffi Tepe, Deputy 
Chief of Staff of the armed forces, who was later accused 
publicly by the Defense Minister of involvement in the March 25 
attack, two of Tepe's sons, and one nephew.  Well over 300 
soldiers sought refuge in Ghana and Benin.  Victims of the 
purge appear to have included soldiers suspected of involvement 
in the March 25 attack, those thought to have opposition or 
democratic tendencies, and some simply belonging to southern 
ethnic groups.

It was unknown whether these extrajudicial killings referred to 
above and variously attributed to elements of the Government or 
the opposition were specifically directed by higher authorities 
on either side.  The Government took no effective action to 
arrest or punish the perpetrators of any of the January or 
March attacks.  It did issue a warrant for the arrest of 
opposition political leader Gilchrist Olympio, which was later 
withdrawn when Olympio officially declared his candidacy for 
the Presidency.  COD-II members denied involvement in the March 
25 attack.

Political and extrajudicial killings continued throughout the 
year.  For example, on April 15, members of the security forces 
in Cinkasse, northern Togo, shot to death three anti-Eyadema 
demonstrators.  On election eve, August 24, members of the 
security forces in Lome shot and killed gas station attendant 
Joseph Akara and wounded Louis Amedome, Secretary-General in 
the Mayor's office of Lome, as the two passed close to the 
Ghana border during the night.  Government spokesmen 
subsequently claimed that the security forces had thus foiled a 
cross-border incursion by oppositionists, although no evidence 
of involvement in the purported incursion by Akara or Amedome 
was presented.  On August 26-27, 19 persons died under 
mysterious circumstances while in police custody.  The 19, as 
well as others, had been arrested in Agbandi and Diguina, near 
Blitta, central Togo, for their alleged destruction of polling 
places on election day, August 25.  They were beaten at the 
time of arrest, and, according to credible reports, the 19 died 
of suffocation because of confinement in a cramped, airless 
cell.  Among those who died were four young boys, aged between 
12 and 15.  The Government claimed, unconvincingly, that the 
fatalities were caused by poisoned food brought by the victims' 
friends and relatives.  

     b.  Disappearance

No confirmed cases of disappearances were reported during 

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

Although detailed information was lacking, there were plausible 
reports that Togo's security forces tortured detainees on 
several occasions in 1993, including, according to the defense 
lawyer, the suspects in a July political bombing case (see 
Section 1.e.).  Torture appears most commonly to take the form 
of severe beatings.  Detainees are frequently beaten by the 
security forces after arrest. 

Prison conditions remained very harsh, with serious 
overcrowding and inadequate food and medical care.  The 
International Committee of the Red Cross and local private 
organizations are allowed access to prisons for monitoring 
purposes with advance government permission.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

Under long-standing Togolese law, persons arrested may be held 
incommunicado without charge for 48 hours, with an additional 
48-hour extension in cases deemed serious or complex.  In 
practice, most detentions conform to this provision.  However, 
prisoners may legally be detained without bail for lengthy 
periods once they have appeared before a judge.  Bail is rarely 
granted for serious crimes.  Access is normally granted to 
family members and attorneys after the initial 48- or 96-hour 
detention period.  Warrants are issued by a judge or senior 
police official.  Although detainees have the right to be 
informed of the charges against them, this is not always done 
in practice.  Pretrial investigation is conducted by a special 
judge who examines the adequacy of the evidence and decides on 

Nevertheless, the shortage of qualified judicial personnel, 
especially judges, the lack of training and material resources, 
and official indifference have produced a backlog of prisoners 
who are held for long periods of time--in some cases 1 to 3 
years--before being brought to trial.  Most pretrial detainees 
are accused of common crimes, but a few are accused of 
politically motivated crimes.  The Government frequently used 
brief investigative detentions of less than 48 hours, some of 
which were related to the detainee's opposition political 
activity.  For example, Alessi Wilson, the treasurer of the 
Togolese Human Rights League, was held by authorities for more 
than a day due to his investigation of the killing of Isaac 

The number of political detainees held by the Government at 
year's end was unknown, but there were at least several, 
despite government denials.  Ex-Corporal Bikagni Nikabou, who 
was alleged to have smuggled arms into Togo for use by 
opposition militants, has been detained without trial since 
October 1992.  His father and brother, who were arrested 
shortly thereafter, continued to be detained without charges 
being brought against them.

In 1993 there were no persons formally exiled from Togo.  
However, most opposition leaders left Togo for an extended 
period for reasons of personal safety following the January 30 
random shootings in Lome.  Subsequently, most top opposition 
leaders returned to Togo by July.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The judicial system, while formally independent of the 
Government, is subject to intervention and manipulation by the 
executive branch. This was most evident in the 1993 Supreme 
Court's decision to exclude Gilchrist Olympio from the 
presidential race.

The judicial system employs both African traditional law and 
the Napoleonic Code in trying criminal and civil cases.  The 
Supreme Court stands at the apex of the court system.  Special 
courts exist to handle cases related to public security (State 
Security Court), embezzlement of public funds (Tribunal for 
Recovery of Public Funds), and violent crimes (Court of 
Assizes).  The State Security Court has not convened in recent 

The court system remained overburdened and understaffed (see 
Section 1.d.).  The result was a serious impediment to the 
delivery of justice.  Trials are open to the public, and 
judicial procedures are respected.  Defendants have the right 
to counsel from the preliminary investigative phase, may 
confront witnesses and present evidence, and enjoy a 
presumption of innocence.  Lower court decisions may be 
appealed to two higher courts.  In rural areas, the village 
chief or Council of Elders may try minor criminal and civil 
cases.  Those who reject the traditional ruling may take their 
case to the regular court system, which is the starting point 
for cases in urban areas.

There were no clear cases of political prisoners (as distinct 
from political detainees) in Togo in 1993.  On September 10, 
the Third Chamber of the Lome Criminal Court convicted two 
members of the opposition political party Democratic Convention 
of the African People (CDPA), Gerard Akoumey and Stephane 
Koudossou, of placing a bomb in July at the headquarters of the 
Action Committee for Renewal (CAR) opposition political party.  
The bomb caused minor injuries to several persons and modest 
damage to the CAR headquarters and the adjacent National Human 
Rights Commission offices.  The defendants publicly confessed, 
but some opposition figures asserted that the charges were 
trumped up.  The lawyers for the defendants withdrew from the 
case when their arguments alleging that one defendant was 
underage and that the confessions had been coerced were 
rejected by the Court.  The defendants were convicted 
nonetheless in the absence of counsel.  The trial fell short of 
a fair trial by internationally accepted standards.

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

In criminal cases, searches of private residences may be 
authorized by a judge or senior police official.  In political 
and national security cases, the security forces need no prior 
authorization.  Telephone taps and monitoring of correspondence 
are once again being practiced by the Government after a year's 
hiatus.  The police and Gendarmerie continue to maintain 
domestic intelligence services.

There were massive violations of privacy and home by security 
forces in the January and March disturbances (see Section 
1.a.).  Death threats and apparent surveillance by government 
forces directed against opposition leaders were common.  Some 
prominent figures avoided living at home because of the 
perceived threat to their safety.  The Government has 
undertaken no investigations of these abuses.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and press.  
These rights, however, were often constrained by threats, 
harassment, damage to property, and personal violence.  Forces 
sympathetic to the Eyadema Government were most likely 
responsible for these actions.  

Approximately 15 independent weekly or biweekly newspapers were 
published in 1993 and were often critical of the Government.  
While opposition newspapers are widely available in Lome, some 
have reported difficulties in distributing their editions in 
interior regions because of harassment from supporters of 
President Eyadema.

On February 26, unknown assailants severely wounded the editor 
in chief of the opposition newspaper Ablode, Leopold Ayiti, who 
also was a spokesman for COD II.  So far as is known, no 
efforts have been made to apprehend the perpetrator of the 
crime.  On April 15, a group of persons, some reported to be in 
military uniform, entered and ransacked the offices of the 
Tribune Des Democrates, an opposition newspaper, beating 
members of the newspaper staff who were present.  It is again 
believed that the perpetrators were members of the security 
forces, possibly angered by articles strongly critical of the 
security forces.

On May 25, a bomb exploded at the Grandes Editions printing 
plant, publisher of three opposition newspapers.  Two of these 
newspapers are now printed in Benin.  On June 4, a small 
explosion shattered the windows of the building housing the 
opposition newspaper Atopani Express.  Pro-Eyadema elements, 
perhaps associated with the security forces, were the likely 

The 8-month general strike (November 1992-August 1993) had a 
deleterious effect on the news industry.  The strike, triggered 
by public outrage over soldiers taking members of the HCR 
hostage in November 1992, had primarily political aims, 
including calls for a politically neutral security force to 
provide election security, neutrality by the army, and more 
opposition representation in the Cabinet.  When the strike 
began, most journals suspended publication as a gesture of 
support for the strike.  As the strike wore on, opposition 
newspapers began to publish special editions at half the 
regular price or, in some cases, had to suspend operations for 
lack of income.  Most of the major independent weekly and 
biweekly newspapers had resumed regular publication by 
September 1993.

The Minister of Communications and Culture convened a meeting 
in May with representatives of the independent media and 
cautioned them to be more responsible in their reporting.  The 
Interior Minister in August warned newspapers and tract 
publishers that they would be prosecuted for publishing 
defamatory material and that the offending publications would 
be seized.

In the last quarter of 1993, official harassment of the 
opposition press increased, including through the courts.  
Government authorities seized several opposition newspapers on 
the grounds that they lacked complete information in their 
mastheads as required by law.  In November the authorities 
detained a representative of the opposition newspaper Ibanou 
Express, Claude Gumzoe, for more than a week when he was found 
carrying a copy of the Express into the countryside.  On 
November 17, they arrested Katakpaou Toure, the director of the 
opposition newspaper Lettre de Tchaoudjo, for publishing an 
alleged defamatory article.  Subsequently, a court fined Toure 
$20,000 (5.5 million CFA francs) and gave him a 12-month prison 
sentence, with 11 months suspended, for defaming President 
Eyadema and Defense Minister Bouraima.  Toure was released 
immediately since he had already served more than 1 month in 
jail awaiting trial.  However, three other members of his 
newspaper's staff, arrested at the same time as Toure, 
apparently on similar grounds, remained in custody without 
trial at year's end.

In another case, on November 24, the Government tried in 
absentia in the Lome Criminal Court the director of publication 
of Ibanou Express, Komlan Ihougan, and a staff writer, Angele 
Kpanouvi, on charges of defaming President Eyadema.  On 
December 17, the Court sentenced Ihougan and Kpanouvi in 
absentia to 3 years' imprisonment and fined them $7,275 (2 
million CFA francs).  Court proceedings in a case stemming from 
charges of defamation brought in September 1992 against the 
director of a leading weekly, La Parole, had yet to be 

In 1993 the official media (two radio stations, one television 
station, one daily newspaper) provided coverage that was 
strongly slanted in favor of President Eyadema and the 
Government.  Except for the 2-week official campaign period 
just before the August 25 presidential election, which the 
opposition boycotted, the state media deliberately ignored 
opposition activities or statements and any international 
commentary critical of the Government.

Two private Ghana-based Togolese radio stations broadcast 
opposition views in 1993.  One, Radio Liberte, broadcast a call 
to arms to the Togolese people as the March 25 attack on Lome's 
main military camp was under way.  These stations were heavily 
jammed by the Togolese Government.  Two pro-Eyadema private 
radio stations were established in 1993.

The University of Benin, Togo's sole university, was closed 
during much of the long general strike.  Most primary and 
secondary schools were closed as well.  Academic freedom exists 
in the sense that there is an atmosphere in which ideas and 
differences of opinion can in principle be debated, but in 
practice opinions expressed in academic forums tend to be muted 
because of concerns about potential government harassment.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Under the Constitution, Togolese are free to assemble and to 
organize in associations and political parties.  Public 
demonstrations require advance notification, and on occasion 
the Government bans demonstrations or modifies their time or 
place, citing grounds of public safety or interference with 
public business.  In September the Government issued a 
declaration that henceforth demonstrations would be banned on 
weekdays in order to avoid interference with work.  

In practice, security forces repeatedly used excessive force to 
prevent political assembly and demonstrations and to harass 
opposition leaders (see Section 1.a.).  On January 19, 
government security forces shot and wounded four persons in a 
crowd of citizens gathered in a peaceful prodemocracy 
demonstration to show support for the High Council of the 

Political groups from southern Togo hesitated to campaign in 
the north, the President's home area, where they were sometimes 
harassed or attacked by supporters of the President.  
Progovernment figures, including the Prime Minister, were 
occasionally subject to harassment when visiting opposition 
strongholds in southern Togo.

There are a number of private associations.  In order to be 
officially recognized, private associations must register with 
the Government, a procedure that is not unduly burdensome.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

The Constitution provides for religious freedom, which is 
enjoyed in practice in terms of religious belief, clergy, and 
religious publications.  Non-Togolese clergy are welcome in 
Togo.  They are free to proselytize and engage in other 
religious activities.

Local religious groups are free to maintain contacts with 
coreligionists in other countries.  There are no restrictions 
on travel for religious purposes.  All official religious 
observances are ecumenical in nature, and the Government does 
not favor any specific religion.  Membership in a particular 
religious group confers no advantage or disadvantage in the 

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

The right of domestic and foreign travel and emigration, the 
right to change residence or workplace, and the right to return 
to the country are generally respected.

More than 250,000 Togolese, mainly southerners, fled to 
neighboring Benin and Ghana, and roughly 125,000 persons moved 
from their homes to new locations within Togo after the January 
and March events.  By the end of the year, many Togolese, with 
government encouragement, had returned from Benin and Ghana and 
from the interior, although others remained in their place of 
refuge, concerned about unsettled conditions and their personal 

Refugees are permitted to stay in Togo and are not forced to 
return to countries in which they fear persecution.  An 
estimated 300 officially recognized refugees reside in Togo.  
They are mainly Ghanaians and Liberians.  

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

In 1993 the people of Togo did not enjoy the right to change 
their government by peaceful means.  President Gnassingbe 
Eyadema dominated the Government.  Declaring that the 
transition government and its institutions in their present 
form expired on December 31, 1992, President Eyadema on January 
18 unilaterally reappointed Joseph Koffigoh as Prime Minister.  
The opposition and the High Council of the Republic rejected 
Koffigoh's appointment as unconstitutional, since the HCR under 
the interim Constitution has the power to name or change the 
Prime Minister.  This dispute left the Prime Minister and the 
Government he formed in February in an ambiguous legal status.  
While nominally independent, the crisis Government headed by 
Prime Minister Koffigoh was, in fact, subordinate to President 

The legislative branch, the HCR elected by the National 
Conference in 1991, did not function in 1993.  Most HCR members 
fled Togo after the January 30 shootings in Lome, making it 
difficult or impossible to gather a quorum.

Presidential elections held on August 25 were seriously 
flawed.  Although the modalities for the elections had been 
agreed in difficult negotiations between the opposition and the 
President's representatives, culminating in the Ouagadougou 
Accords of July 11, the Eyadema regime did not faithfully 
implement them.  One major opposition candidate, Gilchrist 
Olympio, was excluded from running by the Supreme Court on 
essentially technical grounds.  The other two major opposition 
candidates, Edem Kodjo and Yaovi Agboyibor, ultimately 
boycotted the elections and called on their supporters also to 
boycott the polls, publicly basing their decision on the tardy 
and flawed electoral preparations.  After Kodjo's withdrawal, 
the four opposition members of the independent National 
Electoral Commission withdrew from the Commission, as did some 
opposition supporters on the local electoral commissions and 
polling staffs.  The opposition parties did not provide 
delegates to observe polling operations as allowed by the 
Electoral Code and generally failed to demonstrate a commitment 
to prepare seriously for the elections.

In the absence of meaningful opposition, and with only a 
minority of voters going to the polls, President Eyadema won 
reelection by default for a 5-year term.  There were many 
irregularities, e.g., inflated and inaccurate electoral lists 
and double voting.  There was also intimidation and sacking of 
polling places by opposition sympathizers intended to impede 
the elections.

French official observers, as well as private observers, 
specially selected and invited by the Togolese Government, 
remained to monitor the elections, while an official German 
delegation and a joint National Democratic Institute/Carter 
Center delegation, led by former President Carter, withdrew 
after all remaining major opposition candidates decided to 
boycott the elections.  The Government allowed some 
nongovernmental organizations to observe the elections but 
failed to grant permission to others such as the Inter-African 
Union for Human Rights.

There are no restrictions in law on the participation of women 
in political activities, and many women do participate through 
membership in associations and political parties, teachers' 
unions, and protest groups.  However, the total number of women 
in government is small.  Five women are in the 79-member HCR, 
and 1 woman is a Minister in the Government.

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

Several private human rights groups exist, among them the 
Togolese Human Rights League and the Association for the 
Promotion of the Rule of Law.  The Togolese Human Rights League 
prepared some reports in 1993 on the Togolese human rights 
situation.  However, the Eyadema-controlled security forces 
subjected human rights monitors to threats and harassment.  In 
the wake of the January 30 violence, many human rights monitors 
left Togo.  None was able to function effectively as a result.  

The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), established and 
funded by the Government, was also largely inactive through 
much of 1993 because of the closure of its office during the 
extended general strike and the departure abroad of its 
president because of security forces' threats against him.  
Citing the long-term absence of the CNDH's president from Togo 
and the expiration of the terms of office of CNDH members, the 
Government in October issued a decree designating four members 
of the CNDH's Executive Committee to take charge of current 
operations until a new permanent commission was formed, as 
called for by the Constitution.  The president of the CNDH, a 
strong critic of the Eyadema regime, was excluded from the 
reconstituted CNDH Executive Committee, and denounced the 
Government's move as illegal interference with the Commission's 

A Ministry of Human Rights also exists, but since September 
1992 it has been combined with the Ministry of Social Welfare.  
This Ministry conducted little activity in 1993, due in part to 
the general strike which emptied many government offices.

The Government received visits from representatives of 
governmental and nongovernmental international human rights 
organizations in connection with observation of the August 25 
elections.  In addition, in December a representative of the 
Montreal-based International Center for Human Rights and 
Democratic Development visited Togo.  On March 11, the United 
Nations Human Rights Commission adopted a resolution deploring 
the repeated acts of violence which resulted in many civilians 
being killed or wounded and the use of force by the armed 
forces during peaceful gatherings.  Amnesty International 
published a critical report on Togo's human rights situation on 
October 5.  The Government responded publicly, asserting that 
Amnesty International favored the opposition and was engaging 
in a maladroit attempt to destablize the country.

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

The Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of 
ethnic group, regional or family origin, sex, religion, social 
or economic status, or personal political or other 
convictions.  Legal mechanisms exist for redress of 
discrimination complaints, but they are not very effective.  
Private sector discrimination on the basis of ethnic group and 
gender, while not officially sanctioned, is common.


Notwithstanding constitutional protections and economic and 
social rights, including maternity leave benefits, set forth in 
the Family Code adopted in early 1980, in practice women 
continue to be subjected to discrimination, especially in 
education, pension benefits, and traditional law.  A husband 
may legally oppose his wife's right to work and assert control 
over her salary.  Employers are often reluctant to hire women,  
especially to positions of responsibility.  Far fewer women 
than men receive university education, and the number of women 
graduates from secondary schools is low, which accounts for a 
low female literacy rate of 31 percent (compared with 56 
percent for males).

In the urban economic sphere, women dominate both local market 
activities and commerce with Togo's neighbors, often amassing 
considerable wealth in the process.  However, harsh economic 
conditions in rural areas, where most of the population lives, 
leave women with little time for anything other than taxing 
domestic and agricultural field work.  More than civil law, 
customary or traditional law--which affects the vast majority 
of women--discriminates against women, e.g., a wife has no 
rights in the case of divorce, separation, or death of a spouse.

Violence against women, including wife beating, occurs in 
Togo.  Mechanisms exist within both the traditional extended 
family and formal judicial structures for redress, but the 
police rarely intervene in domestic violence cases.  In recent 
years, instances of trafficking in Togolese women for purposes 
of prostitution have come to public attention.  Local houses of 
prostitution exist.  In addition, Togolese women have been 
promised jobs in the Middle East or Europe, transported there 
and then forced into prostitution and sometimes otherwise 
abused.  There are no specific laws dealing with trafficking of 
this nature, and the Government has made no visible efforts to 
curtail it.


The Government devotes few resources to children's welfare.  
For example, there are only a handful of juvenile courts, and 
children are often mixed with adult criminals in jails.  
Orphans or other needy children are aided more by extended 
families or private organizations than by the State.  Tradition 
often dictates that, especially in financially strapped 
families, a male child is selected to be educated in preference 
to a female.  In fact, females receive only one-third of the 
schooling of males, according to a U.N. study.

Female genital mutilation (circumcision) is performed at an 
early age and is practiced by a few ethnic groups in Togo's 
northern and central regions.  While some reports indicate the 
practice may be gradually diminishing, an expert in the field 
indicates that as many as 50 percent of the females may have 
been mutilated.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

The security forces are dominated by northern ethnic groups, 
while commerce and the professions tend to be the preserve of 
southerners.  Most political parties are dominated by 
southerners, except for the pro-Eyadema party.  Ethnic 
rivalries dating from precolonial times have been exacerbated 
by the civil unrest of recent years and inadequate law 

With the rise in tensions between the north and south of Togo, 
some residents of minority ethnic groups in those regions have 
been harassed and attacked by their neighbors belonging to the 
majority groups and consequently moved back under pressure to 
their home regions.  Southern Togolese were predominant among 
those who fled from Togo to neighboring Benin and Ghana after 
the January 30 shooting spree by security force members. 

     People with Disabilities

The Constitution obliges the Government to aid disabled persons 
and shelter them from social injustice, but government 
assistance is limited in practice.  Although disabled persons 
are not subject to official state discrimination and hold some 
responsible positions in the Government, disabled persons have 
no meaningful recourse against private sector discrimination.  
Some disabled persons find assistance and a livelihood in 
privately supported workshops, while many others are compelled 
to beg in the streets.  The Government does not mandate 
accessibility of public or private facilities.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution gives most workers the right to join unions 
and the right to strike.  Members of the security forces, 
including firemen and policemen, are not allowed to join unions 
or strike, and government health care personnel do not have the 
right to strike.  As approximately 80 percent of the population 
is engaged in subsistence agriculture, the work force in the 
formal (wage) sector is small, involving some 80,000 to 100,000 
workers, of whom 60-70 percent are estimated to be members or 
supporters of a union.

Prior to 1991, the Government effectively limited the right of 
association by requiring all workers to pay dues to the 
National Confederation of Togolese Workers (CNTT), which was 
formerly associated with the ruling party, a practice that had 
been criticized for years by the International Labor 
Organization (ILO).  This practice gave the CNTT a de facto 
monopoly on the labor movement, although trade unions could and 
did exist outside the CNTT.  In August 1991, the National 
Conference suspended the automatic withholding of CNTT dues for 
all workers, and it froze CNTT's assets.  A number of trade 
unions left the CNTT, some of which then affiliated with two 
new federations:  the Labor Federation of Togolese Workers 
(CSTT) and the National Union of Independent Syndicates 
(UNSIT).  The CNTT has probably been surpassed in membership by 
these new unions which, while independent of any political 
party, cooperated closely with the opposition parties in the 
recent 8-month general strike.  While the CNTT no longer has a 
formal government affiliation, it remains associated with the 
Government and the former sole political party, the RPT (Rally 
of the Togolese People).

The Constitution prohibits discrimination against workers' 
rights for reasons of sex, origin, beliefs, or opinions.  There 
is no specific law prohibiting retribution against strikers.  
Many civil servants were transferred in the wake of their 
participation in the general strike, and such transfers were 
widely denounced by labor leaders and opposition politicians as 
arbitrary and discriminatory.

After the military takeover of the HCR in October 1992, the 
independent unions belonging to the Independent Collective of 
Unions (CSI) called for an unlimited general strike, which 
began on November 16, 1992.  It officially ended August 2, 
1993, after the signing of the Ouagadougou Accords which called 
for multiparty presidential elections.  Striker demands were 
primarily political.  Because of the long general strike, there 
was little or no collective bargaining or other labor activity 
in 1993.

The various federations and unions are free to associate with 
international labor groups.  The CNTT and the UNSIT are 
affiliates of the International Confederation of Free Trade 

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

The Labor Code guarantees workers the right to organize and 
bargain collectively.  All formal (wage) sector employees are 
nominally covered by a collective bargaining agreement.  
However, true collective bargaining is limited by the 
Government's role in producing one tripartite bargaining 
agreement signed by the unions, management, and the 
Government.  This agreement sets wage standards for all formal 
sector employees.  Individual groups in the formal sector can 
attempt, through collective bargaining, to negotiate a more 
favorable package, and some do, though it is not a common 
practice.  The CNTT had a role in the bargaining process when 
it was the de facto monopoly labor federation, but it acted 
more as a spokesman for labor interests within the Government 
and ruling party than as an independent labor federation.  
Since 1991 the CNTT, as well as the newer labor federations, 
have taken a more active role in independent collective 

The 1974 Labor Code prohibits antiunion discrimination.  The 
Ministry of Labor is charged with resolving labor-related 

A law allowing the establishment of export processing zones 
(EPZ's) was enacted in late 1989.  A number of companies have 
received EPZ status, and about a dozen have begun operations.  
The EPZ law provides exemptions from some provisions of the 
Togolese Labor Code, notably the regulations on hiring and 
firing workers.  Employees of EPZ firms do not enjoy the same 
protection against antiunion discrimination as do other workers.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

Although the law is silent on the question, forced or 
compulsory labor does not exist in practice.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The Labor Code prohibits the employment of children under the 
age of 14 in any enterprise.  Some types of industrial and 
technical employment require a minimum age of 18.  These age 
requirements are generally enforced in the formal sector in 
urban areas by inspectors from the Ministry of Labor.  In both 
urban and rural areas, particularly in farming and petty 
trading, very young children traditionally assist in their 
families' work.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

Minimum wages are set by the Government for different 
categories, but less than the official minimum wage is often 
paid in practice.  Official minimum wages range from 
approximately $55 to $90 (14,000 to 22,000 CFA francs) per 
month.  Many workers cannot maintain a decent standard of 
living at the lower official minimum wages, and many must 
supplement their incomes through second jobs or subsistence 
farming.  The Ministry of Labor is ostensibly responsible for 
enforcement of the minimum wage system, but there is no 
effective enforcement in practice.  Labor practices are 
regulated by the Labor Code.  The Code stipulates that there 
should be equal pay for equal work, regardless of sex, and this 
provision is generally observed in the formal sector.

Working hours of all employees in any enterprise, except for 
agricultural enterprises, normally must not exceed 40 hours per 
week; at least one 24-hour rest period per week is compulsory; 
and workers must receive 30 days of paid leave each year.  
Enforcement is weak, however, and these provisions are not 
universally respected.

Health and safety standards in the workplace are determined by 
a technical consulting committee in the Ministry of Labor, 
which may levy penalties on employers who do not meet the 
standards.  In practice, the Ministry's enforcement of the 
various provisions of the Labor Code is limited.  Larger 
enterprises are required to provide medical services for their 
employees and usually attempt to respect occupational health 
and safety rules, but smaller firms often do not. 

[end of document]


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