Democracy and rights
Equatorial Guinea is one of the world's
hardest dictatorships. The repression has worsened since
the 2018 presidential election, when the last
squandering of opposition was imprisoned. The president
and his relatives have control over both the media and
While regular elections are held, they are not to be
considered free or fair. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Mbasogo, who came to power in 1979, controls the country
and its rich natural resources by oppressing regime
critics and human rights activists. Security forces are
used to strike at opposition - and people who are only
suspected to be.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Equatorial Guinea, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Many regime critics have gone into exile. The
country's only opposition party, Citizens for Renewal
(CI), is in ruins after 147 leading party members were
jailed in connection with the 2018 presidential
election. They were released ten months later but two of
them died in prison - according to human rights
organizations, they died as a result of torture. The EU
notes in a report that the human rights situation has
deteriorated significantly since the elections (see
Freedom of meeting is circumvented. Civil society
organizations are monitored and difficult to operate.
President Obiang belongs to the largest ethnic group
in the country, fang. Other groups of people lack almost
complete influence in society. The situation of the Bubi
minority group is particularly difficult.
Women have the same political rights as men, but they
hold only every fifth place in parliament. In practice,
women have little opportunity to organize or conduct
Equatorial Guinea is one of the world's ten most
corrupt countries; in 2019, it ranked 173 out of 180
countries in the Transparency International Index of
Corruption in the World (see full list here). The
country's oil resources have provided the president's
family with large incomes during the 2000s and 2010s.
One of his sons is responsible minister for mines,
industry and energy. Another of the sons is the vice
president and has been featured in several international
criminal investigations on money laundering and fraud.
One step in the right direction is that the country
in 2018 ratified the UN Convention against Corruption,
something that was required for the IMF to grant a loan.
However, human rights organizations are skeptical that
ratification will have any effect on corruption in
Freedom of expression and media
The mass media is under strict state control.
Virtually all private press is owned by relatives of the
The media is in a weak position and journalists are
often harassed. Self-censorship is common. Criticism
against the president and his immediate circle is
considered "attack on the nation". It often happens that
the government is blocking social media such as Facebook.
Reporters Without Borders ranked Equatorial Guinea in
2019 and 2020 as number 165 out of 180 countries in its
index of media freedom in the world (see full list
Judicial system and legal security
The judicial system is not independent of state
powers, especially the presidential family.
Occasionally, in sensitive cases, judges consult the
president before awarding judgments. The president
appoints the country's judges.
The prisons are overcrowded and the conditions there
are miserable. The death penalty can be imposed.
UNESCO withdraws "Obiang Prize"
The UN agency Unesco puts the award of the "Obiang Prize" on ice. The award
would have been awarded annually to the person who "made the greatest scientific
effort to improve human quality of life". In 2008, President Obiang donated $ 3
million to UNESCO for this purpose. The UN body instituted the award, despite
repeated UN criticism against Equatorial Guinea for abuse and torture, and
despite the knowledge of how the country's elite has enriched while the majority
of people live in poverty. As the criticism of the prize grew among
international democracy activists, researchers and diplomats, Unesco got cold
feet. The government of Equatorial Guinea describes the decision as a rash of
"hidden racism and neo-colonialism".
Simon Mann becomes adviser to Obiang
British mercenary Simon Mann, convicted of attempting to overthrow Obiang in
2004, returns to Equatorial Guinea as an adviser to the same president.
Four death sentences for coup attempt
Four people charged with participating in a coup attempt in 2004 are
sentenced to death in a military court. They are executed within an hour of the
verdict. The executions are criticized by Amnesty International, who emphasize
that the executed were in exile at the time of the attack. The four were
arrested in Benin in early 2010 by special forces from Equatorial Guinea.
Excluded from Eiti
Equatorial Guinea is excluded from the project Eiti (Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative), which consists of nearly 20 countries, including
Sweden, some 40 companies in the oil, gas and mining industry, as well as
investors and a number of voluntary organizations. Eiti's aim is to promote that
the income from a country's natural resources will benefit more residents.